The Steelers are without their starting quarterback, number one wide receiver, number one running back, starting center, top-two defensive lineman, and their fullback.
The Browns have their franchise quarterback, two star wide receivers, and two all-pro talents at running back.
The Browns were favored in Pittsburgh for the first time in 30 years. They should have been. Look at that matchup on paper.
The bigger mismatch, though, was at head coach. Mike Tomlin's got his Steelers paddling away amid all of the injuries they've faced this year. The "standard is the standard." "Next man up." It's all a lot of bull crap, really. Not to Tomlin's players. They buy in.
Tomlin has created a culture where winning is the expectation. He's never had a losing season in his tenure in Pittsburgh.
It's not all about motivation, either. Apparently, the cheerleader can make an adjustment or two.
The Browns were humming on the ground in the first half. They only managed 15 rushing yards in the second half. Credit the coach.
The Browns are the antithesis of the Steelers. Mike Tomlin's been around fostering this culture since 2007. Freddie Kitchens has never been a head coach at ANY level.
With all the chips on the table, in a must-win game, Mike Tomlin did what he does. The Browns held up their end of the bargain, too.