CLEVELAND — The victory, not secured until after the final play on a blustery day, did nothing for the Steelers' playoff positioning.
A 13-9 win at Cleveland Browns Stadium gave the Steelers a second consecutive 12-4 season, but it also exacted a pretty stiff price.
Already thin at running back, the Steelers likely lost their feature ball-carrier to an ACL tear. Rashard Mendenhall, on his way to a second consecutive 100-yard game, went down at the end of the first quarter. An MRI taken today could confirm coach Mike Tomlin's worst fears regarding Mendenhall's right knee.
At the very least, Tomlin said Mendenhall won't play Sunday when the Steelers visit the Denver Broncos at 4:30 p.m. in the opening round of the AFC playoffs.
"You should anticipate that he won't be participating next week for us," Tomlin said of Mendenhall. "It's not good when a guy goes down in open grass, not touched by anyone. Experience tells me that's generally not good."