Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It Could Be a Strange Afternoon at Heinz Field Postseason Fate Is in Hands of Other Teams

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It Could Be a Strange Afternoon at Heinz Field Postseason Fate Is in Hands of Other Teams

Article excerpt

Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic is in his sixth NFL season and has never made it to the playoffs. He was close as a rookie in 2013 when he played for the Chicago Bears, who were 8-6 before losing their final two games of the season to finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

This season, the Steelers were 7-2-1 and in position to earn a top seed in the AFC before losing four of their past five games. Now they need to win their regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals and hope for the Cleveland Browns to win in Baltimore against the Ravens.

"It's not a good feeling," Bostic said. "We have to take care of business first. Whatever happens in Baltimore happens. We can't control it. We have to control what we can control. We had the chance to control our own destiny, and we were unable to do that."

It's going to be a strange scene Sunday afternoon inside Heinz Field. The Steelers-Bengals game will kick off at the same time of the Ravens-Browns game. The Steelers were in a similar situation in their 2015 regular-season finale in Cleveland. They needed to beat the Browns and have the Bills beat the Jets in order to make the playoffs. Those games were played simultaneously as well.

The Steelers beat the Browns, 28-12. With the outcome of that game secured, Steelers players got word on the field that the Bills were going to beat the Jets and they celebrated on the sideline before their game was over.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not say this week if he'll allow the score of the Ravens-Browns game to be shown during his game, but word inevitably will leak to the players throughout the game.

Fans will be tuned into their smart phones just feet away. It will be good news when there are cheers for no reason during the Steelers-Bengals game. It will be bad news when there are groans.

"No need to peek at the scoreboard," cornerback Cameron Sutton said. "We have to handle our own business. It's really irrelevant what anyone else does. We have to do our job."

He's not even going to be the least bit curious about the Ravens score?

"Not at all," he said. "When you worry about whatever is going on in another game you're not worried about what you have to do on the field. …

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