The Steelers and Browns will meet at Heinz Field on Monday Night Football in a game that will have a playoff-like atmosphere.
Both teams are still in the playoff hunt in the AFC North, fighting tooth and nail for a desired spot in the postseason.
The Steelers beat the Browns earlier this season in Cleveland, 15-10. This week one of the hot topics in Cleveland was if this will be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's last game at Heinz Field, after there has been talk of it, and Roethlisberger said on Thursday that all signs are pointing to it.
The Browns talked about the potential of it being Roethlisberger's last home game, with many of them downplaying it, as well as much more, including the battle in the AFC North.
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Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski on Monday night's game:
"Division game. An opponent that we know really, really well. Very well coached. A bunch of great players. We know it's going to be a 60-minute fight. We get that and that's what we expect."
Guard Joel Bitonio on Monday night potentially being the last home game of Ben Roethlisberger's career:
"I have not really thought about it too much. You never know in these things. Who knows? He could be back. Tom Brady is playing until he is 45 or 50 it seems like. Me personally, I have had a lot of matchups against Pittsburgh, and they have been on the winning side a lot. I know throughout his career he has had a really good career against the Cleveland Browns. I am sure the fans will be amped up. I am sure their team will be amped up. For us, it is already a playoff game, so we are already focused like that. We are already ready for the atmosphere. We have to handle our business and win, but he has had a great career, and I am sure the fans will be very excited for him."
Cornerback Denzel Ward on the expected atmosphere at Heinz Field on Monday night in what could be Roethlisberger's final home game:
"I think it is going to be a playoff atmosphere. That is the type of game that it is. We need to go in there and focus all on Pittsburgh, and we have to go in there and find a way to get a win. I know it is going to be a crazy atmosphere, though."
Quarterback Baker Mayfield on what part of Roethlisberger's game he admires most:
"There is a lot that I admire about his game and respect it, to be honest with you. His play, he extends plays, but he trusts his guys thoroughly. He trusts his receivers, tight ends and all of those guys to make plays for him, and he has done it consistently, no matter who has been out there with him. When it comes to fourth quarter or coming back and sparking drives for a comeback and when a play is needed to be made, he has consistently done that for a long, long time. That is something you can't teach. He has just had that, and that is why he has had success for so long."
Receiver Anthony Schwartz on if he watched Roethlisberger when growing up:
"Yeah, I watched him. I definitely remember when they played the Cardinals that game in the Super Bowl [XLIII]. That was definitely a moment that stuck out to me. It has always been crazy, especially the first time we played him, I was like, 'That is Big Ben out there. I grew up with him."
Schwartz on what he liked about Roethlisberger growing up:
"He was just always on point with everything. Especially growing up, you see teams going against Big Ben, it is kind of like they shut down the game because of the intimidation that he already has. That is what growing up I always thought about him."
Bitonio on if there would be any additional satisfaction to beat the Steelers in what potentially will be the last home game of Roethlisberger's NFL career, especially given Roethlisberger's record against the Browns:
"It is always good to get a win. I have not been part of many over there. For us, this is the playoffs. We have to win this game so from a macro standpoint, it already is as important as possible for us. If we can win and that happens afterward for it, it is going to be a little cherry on top. Right now, it is a playoff game for us, so we have to go out there and really focus on us and executing our best strategy. That will be something afterward we can talk about and think about, but for us, it is really a playoff game. We have to go 1-0 this week."
Safety M.J. Steward on what would it mean get a win over the Steelers in what could be Roethlisberger's final home game:
"Our focus is just going 1-0, honestly. Everybody knows what this game means to us. We really can't speak on what it means to the Steelers, but we know how important this game is for us and here at the Browns. We are just trying to focus on going 1-0 this week."
Ward on watching Roethlisberger when he was growing up and playing high school or college football:
"I remember a lot. I used to watch those guys growing up, watching him and the play in the back of the end zone to Santonio Holmes (in Super Bowl XLIII) and when guys were there like Polamalu and all of those guys. I have been watching these guys since I was little. It is definitely an honor to be able to take the field against Ben Roethlisberger since watching him when I was a kid and just compete against him. Definitely an honor."
Bitonio on preparing to play the Steelers this week after so many years of playing against them:
"The good thing is you have film of yourself going against them so you can watch some of that and understand where you have had bad plays in the past. As a scheme thing, you try and look back at what has worked and what has not worked. But they are looking at the same thing, so you want to make subtle adjustments and really see kind of what is the best way to attack them. That is why I think these division games a lot of times are tossups and a lot of times come down to the wire because teams know each other so well and they know each other's personnel so well."
Stefanski on the Steelers historically being a tough team to run against and currently ranking 32nd in run defense this year:
"It is a good point, and I know what the statistics say. When we played them last time, it was a hard front to run on for us in that last game. I know we ended up having some yards towards the end, but it is a stout front. We have to make sure we are doing our job really along the front, on the perimeter, running back and you name it. You really have to be about your business because this is a physical group. They run multiple fronts. As you know, they have the big players on the edge. No. 97 (Cameron Heyward) is still playing at a very, very high level. It is a really good group. I know what the statistics say, and I understand that, but I have a ton of respect for that defense and that run defense."
Mayfield on facing the Steelers defense with the atmosphere at Heinz Field:
"They have been playing at a high level for a long time. That is why they have been up at the top of the AFC North for a long time. We know what to expect. It is not going to be a surprise to us. If anybody told you otherwise, they would be lying. We know them well. They know us well. It is going to be a great challenge and a great atmosphere. Like I said, we just have to do our job one play at a time and just keep swinging until that clock hits zero."
Bitonio on the AFC North this season and the possibility of a team winning the division with a 9-8 record:
"It is tough. It is always a tough division. It is always hard to win it. Looking at it now, it is going to come down to the wire again. We will probably have four teams right around .500 or a little bit better – no real bottom team and no team that is going to win 13 games this year. I do think it is a testament to the toughness of the division and how tough each game is when you play within the division. Also, a lot of our teams have given games away. You are going to look back on the season, and a team that does not make the playoffs and say 'Man, we had two or three games that we really threw away.' I think that just shows how important every game is in the NFL. Hey, once you get in the playoffs, they do not care what your record is."