So Close. So Far.

Pretty much.

The Steelers have been eliminated from postseason contention. Almost everything went perfectly. The Jets beat the Dolphins. The Bengals curb-stomped the defending champion Ravens. The Steelers took care of business against the Browns. The Chargers took the Chiefs to overtime, where the Chiefs scored a defensive touchdown to win the game, except they didn't, because Bill Leavy decided they didn't.

Pre-emptive strike against Seahawks fans: Jerramy Stevens has always sucked, Bettis would have scored on fourth down anyway, and your refusal to stop complaining about it eight years later is the only reason I'm not rooting for Seattle going forward. Eat me.

In any case, the Chargers were ruled to have won the game, eliminating the Steelers from postseason contention. You can direct your hate at Ryan Succop for missing that field goal if you want, but sometimes kickers miss, and it's the officiating crew that actually straight-up got it wrong. It is what it is.

There's also a significant portion of Steeler fans on Twitter who have leaned down from their high horses to tell us filthy peasants that we don't deserve to be disappointed with today's events. F those people. Yeah, the Steelers should have played better and beaten the Titans and Vikings. Yeah, Antonio Brown should have kept his foot in bounds against Miami. Despite all of those miscues, the Steelers were still a missed field goal/blown call away from making it to the postseason.

Now the Steelers face a lot of tough questions. Veteran players will be gone this offseason as too many units have underperformed and the team is going to struggle to save money under the cap. One question that won't need to be answered is who will be the head coach next year. Mike Tomlin will be. Yes, his clock management is terrible, and if you have your life savings riding on a game of Madden on Xbox, maybe don't pick Mike Tomlin to play it. But what Tomlin did is keep the team focused and working after starting out 0-4, and then falling to 2-6 later. Since that 2-6 mark, the Steelers went 6-2 for an even record and another nonlosing season, which should be credited to Tomlin's ability to motivate his players in the face of impossible odds.

And you know what? He almost pulled it off.

We have a lot of time to sit and think about things. The Browns recap will be up early this week, and then we'll start taking a look at the team overall. The Steelers will pick 15th overall in the draft in April, and will face the Chiefs and Jets as second-place finishers in the AFC. They'll also have an extra home game in Jacksonville next year.

For now, we would all be best served to just step back and take a deep breath. This season has been a tough one on all of us.

One more day until we announce the winner of the HTC One Max. So there's something to look forward to.

Brian Schaich

About Brian Schaich

Brian studied computer engineering long enough to know he just wanted to talk about sports all day for a living, so that's what he does.

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