The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of business at home against the Cleveland Browns in the regular season finale, winning by a final score of 28-14. While the Steelers won against Cleveland and The Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots, the Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets, sending Miami to the playoffs as the seventh seed in the AFC, thus ending the Steelers’ season. Pittsburgh finishes the season with a 9-8 record, having gone 7-2 since the team’s bye week, but falls just short of qualifying for a playoff spot.
RB Najee Harris spoke to the media following the game and was asked what it meant to him to help HC Mike Tomlin avoid his first losing season during his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harris answered that it was important for the team to do it for the guy who had never lost faith in them, no matter how bad the circumstances looked prior to the bye week.
“That was just for Mike T., man,” Harris said to the media on video from Steelers.com. “When we started at 2-6, he said, ‘I’m not going to change the way I’m coaching, I’m not going to blink, I’m going to be the same guy.’ He never changed. He never switched up. That’s just leadership and for us to come in here and win for him and not have that losing season, I think that was big for us.”
Tomlin has mentioned time-and-again that he aspires to be the same guy, regardless of if his team is winning or losing. Many current and former players have come to back Tomlin over the last several weeks as the Steelers went on a 7-2 run after the bye, battling back to a winning record and nearly qualifying for a playoff berth.
While the outside media was bashing the Steelers and their disastrous start, the team on the inside stayed level-headed, just like their head coach. They focused on individually making their own improvements while improving as collectives, both offense and defense, up to the point where Pittsburgh was consistently winning close games down the stretch.
The 2022 Steelers’ season is now over, but Harris can point to this resilient effort by the veterans of this team as well as the young guys who stepped up down the stretch of the season as a potential springboard into the offseason and into 2023. This team will look drastically different to open training camp this summer, but Tomlin and the Steelers overcame the odds when most had them down for the count, leaving room for optimism for what may lie ahead in 2023 and beyond.