Shortly after the loss, the Steelers received notification from the NFL that they had clinched a playoff spot. The exact scenario of how they clinched was not explained beyond the fact it included the Steelers’ strength of victory.
Even with the loss, the Steelers stayed on a track to win the AFC North and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. If the Steelers defeat 2-12 Carolina on Dec. 23 at Heinz Field and then win in Cleveland on Jan. 2 against a Browns team that’s now 5-9, they would win the division over the Ravens based on a better division record (5-1 vs. 4-2). Then, because the there are no teams in either the AFC South or the AFC West with fewer than five losses already, the Steelers would finish as the No. 2 seed in the conference and get a first-round bye.