PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers remain convinced they’re a tweak or two away from another Super Bowl run. The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, are ready to start all over.
Ben Roethlisberger threw three short touchdown passes, and the Steelers avoided their first losing season in nearly a decade with a 24-10 victory over the Browns on Sunday in a meaningless finale that merely served as a speed bump to impending change for both franchises.
The Steelers (8-8) are out of the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Browns (5-11) get ready for another front office overhaul.
New owner Jimmy Haslam already ousted team president Mike Holmgren, and there’s a good chance general manager Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur will follow.
We really did not win enough games and we’re not competing next week, Shurmur said. I was never really worried about (next year) and I have no regrets.
PANTHERS 44, SAINTS 38: In New Orleans, Drew Brees made more NFL history, but so did New Orleans’ defense in an undesirable way.
DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards, including touchdown runs of 54 and 12 yards, for Carolina (7-9), which has won four straight.
Brees passed for 396 yards, giving him 5,177 this season. That makes him the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards three times. His four TD passes gave him 43 in 2012, and he’s the first player with 40 TD passes in consecutive seasons.
The Saints (7-9) also gave up 530 yards, raising their season total to 7,042 to break the record of 6,793 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.
BUCCANEERS 22, FALCONS 17: In Atlanta, Josh Freeman threw a touchdown pass to Mike Williams, Doug Martin ran for 142 yards as Tampa Bay (7-9) snapped a five-game losing streak.
The Falcons (13-3) have home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs.
TITANS 38, JAGUARS 20: In Nashville, Tenn., Tennessee (6-10) became the first team in NFL history with two players scoring twice on returns against Jacksonville (2-14).
Darius Reynaud scored on two punt returns and rookie linebacker Zach Brown returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
BILLS 28, JETS 9: In Orchard Park, N.Y., C.J. Spiller scored on a 66-yard catch and run in helping under-achieving Buffalo (6-10), and quarterback Mark Sanchez had two more turnovers in what may have been his last game with New York (6-10).
CHARGERS 24, RAIDERS 21: In San Diego, Micheal Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in what’s expected to be coach Norv Turner’s final game with San Diego (7-9).
The Raiders finished 4-12.