By Christina Rivers
As the Pittsburgh Steelers spend the week preparing for their final regular season game in 2015, the playoff picture for the team looks a little less clear. After losing to the Baltimore Ravens, a week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns is a must, requiring the Steelers to get a little help from the Buffalo Bills to enter the post-season. Some roster changes were made on Tuesday in Pittsburgh and the team is putting its efforts into finishing strong on the road.
A little help from the Buffalo Bills
The Steelers remain in the hunt for a post-season spot, but after a three-point loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend, they need a win and a lift from a Buffalo Bills team that will be facing the New York Jets. The Jets come off of an overtime win against the New England Patriots on Sunday. The Bills are a 7-8 team that has seen its share of disappointing games this season. The Patriots, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs have all taken their places, leaving the Jets (10-5) in a wild card hunt with the Indianapolis Colts (7-8) and Steelers (9-6). In a year of improbabilities, the Steelers have a legitimate shot to take a final wild-card spot, but it won’t be an easy task. Relying on another team’s win or loss to get you there is something no NFL team likes to put their post-season hopes on.
Putting the Ravens behind them, and the Browns squarely in front
“We are just focused on this week’s challenge,” said head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday. “Nothing has changed in that regard. It’s a week-to-week league. It has to be. Anybody who has been in it for any length of time understands that. I think you are setting yourself up for failure if you view it any other way. So we are focused on our preparation for Cleveland.”
Steelers guard Ramon Foster, in his weekly visit with “The Fan Morning Show” talked about the Ravens, how the Steelers put themselves into their current situation, and what has to be done moving forward. “We gave (the Ravens) hope, and to their credit, they played a good game too,” Foster told the radio show personalities. “But, when you’re playing against a team that doesn’t have anything to lose, and they want to do anything they can to ruin your season, you can’t let them have life.” Foster admitted that he and his Steelers teammates let Baltimore take advantage of mistakes and played down to a dangerous opponent. “We can’t play down to anybody or thing they’re going to let us win,” Foster said. “I think everybody has to be focused on beating the Browns…We can’t ask for too much else, because heck, we put ourselves in this position starting at the beginning of the season.”
Fort promoted while Nix moved to Injured-Reserved
Fullback Roosevelt Nix has been a nice addition to the Steelers roster this season, often giving the Steelers running game additional help as well as a boost in special teams. In the third quarter of the week 16 contest in Baltimore, Nix injured his right foot. The rookie had played in 15 games this season, totaling eight tackles and one forced fumble on special teams. After placing him on the team’s injured-reserved list on Tuesday, the Steelers promoted linebacker L.J. Fort to the 53-man active roster from his spot on the team’s practice squad; a spot Fort had held during the entire 2015 season.
On his career, Fort has played in 17 games (16 with the Browns in 2012 and one with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014). Fort has logged 13 career tackles, one sack, an interception and five special teams tackles. Taking Fort’s spot on the practice squad was safety Ross Ventrone. Ventrone spent time with the Steelers earlier in the 2015 season and is no stranger to their defensive scheme.
Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a journalist and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied Exercise Physiology and Sports Psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL as well as a published author. Her work can be found on