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Jones, Smith-Schuster Lead Steelers To 28-24 Victory Over Cleveland

January 1, 2018

Rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster caught nine passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, and ran a kickoff back 96 yards for another score, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 28-24 home victory over Cleveland in an NFL regular season finale played Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

The win assured the Steelers (13-3) of the number-2 seed in the American Football Conference playoffs, a first-round bye and a home game in the conference semifinals.  Cleveland, meanwhile, finished at 0-16, becoming just the second NFL team to lose all of their matchups in a 16-game season.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin rested some of his starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Le’Veon Bell, while star receiver Antonio Brown remained inactive with an injury.

Replacing Roethlisberger, Landry Jones completed 23-of-27 passes for 239 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Newly-acquired veteran Stevan Ridley spelled Bell and rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.  Veteran receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey scored on a 29-yard end-around.

For Cleveland, DeShone Kizer was 16-for-30 for 314 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one interception.  Kizer also was the Browns’ leading rusher with 61 yards on six carries.  Running back Duke Johnson scored on a two-yard run and caught six passes for 75 yards.  Josh Gordon had four receptions for 115 yards, and Rashard Higgins pulled in three of Kizer’s throws, including two for scores.

Pittsburgh will host either Jacksonville or the winner of the Tennessee-Kansas City game in the AFC semifinals at 1:05 PM on Sunday, January 14.

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