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Monday, November 26, 2012
Kiss of playoff death for Steelers?

By Jamison Hensley

CLEVELAND -- Ugly. Embarrassing. Those are the words used by the Pittsburgh Steelers to describe their 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. But did it kill the Steelers' playoff hopes?

History says the Steelers have never been able to lose to the Browns and win a playoff berth in the same season since Cleveland returned to the league in 1999.

In 1999, the Browns beat the Steelers, 16-15, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers finished 6-10.

In 2000, the Browns edged Pittsburgh, 23-20, in Cleveland. The Steelers finished 9-7.

In 2003, the Browns roughed up Pittsburgh, 33-13, in their only win at Heinz Field. The Steelers finished 6-10.

In 2009, the Browns topped Pittsburgh, 13-6, in Cleveland. The Steelers finished 9-7.

At this point, the Steelers are still in the thick of the playoff race even after losing at Cleveland. With five games remaining, the Steelers (6-5) hold onto the sixth and final playoff spot due to their head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Before Bengals fans start to gloat over the Steelers' loss to the Browns, here's another trend: The Bengals have never made the playoffs when they lost to the Browns (since 1999).

Let's see if either the Steelers or Bengals can conquer the curse of the Browns this year. A tip of the hat to Tony Grossi of ESPN Radio in Cleveland for passing along this interesting factoid.