PITTSBURGH and BALTIMORE — As the spots in the AFC come down to the wire, the Pittsburgh Steelers need a win just to remain alive in the postseason race. The objective isn’t to keep an eye on the out-of-town scoreboard, Alex Highsmith said Monday. It will be the task at hand at home against the Cleveland Browns, who want nothing more than to crush Pittsburgh’s hopes.
“Just control what we can control,” Highsmith said. “And that’s winning the game. So, it’s as simple as that. We’re not worrying about the other scores. We’ve just got to worry about winning our game. That’s all that matters.”
Highsmith was watching other clashes on Sunday, but only because the Steelers weren’t playing until later on. He passed the time by seeing how things played out.
“That’s the thing about the night games,” he said. “You get a lot of time to watch the games throughout the day. We’ll see how it goes this week.”
A Buffalo win over New England and a New York Jets victory over Miami will also be needed for the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs. Browns star Myles Garrett doesn’t want that scenario to even come into play. Out of contention, the visitors will be out to play spoiler.
“We’d love to do that,” the Cleveland edge rusher said after the Browns’ win on Sunday. “We consider them our rivals. And divisionally, if we can’t make it, we’re definitely going to make sure those guys can’t. We’re going to do everything in our power. Much respect to them for being in this position. But we live for times like this.”
Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds said that confidence has been growing in the locker room as the team has won five of its last six. Pittsburgh’s 2-6 start is far out of the minds of the squad. For Edmunds, it’s not if the Steelers make the playoffs, but when.
“Whenever you talk to anybody, they just tell you, ‘We’re going to turn the season around, let’s do it,'” he said. “And right now, we’re living it. Man, it’s going to be a dream come true. Once we make it to playoffs, we’ll keep on going from there.”
Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Baltimore