Williams works both ends of goal line

There must be something about the goal line in Heinz Field's South end.

On week after wide receiver Antonio Brown had extend the ball to get it into the end zone for a last-second touchdown against the Ravens, running back Le'Veon Bell was twice able to reach the ball out over the same goal line and avoid a safety against the Browns.

Williams' timely creativity was part of a 23-carry, three-catch, two-touchdown performance in Sunday afternoon's 27-24 overtime victory over the Browns.

"We always work that in practice, don't let the other team take advantage of potentially getting a safety back there," Williams said of consecutive carries from the Steelers' 1-yard line in the second quarter on which Williams was contacted in the end zone but still managed to gain the line of scrimmage. "You gotta fight and claw and do everything you possibly can to not give up two points back there.

"And you kind of take that onus on you, too, as a player. You don't want to be the guy to give up two points whether it be carrying the ball, blocking or throwing the ball."


BACK IN BLACK:** Williams, who has been working his way back from knee surgery, hadn't carried the ball since Nov. 6 at Baltimore (one rush, 1 yard). And he'd had only nine carries and one reception since running back Le'Veon Bell returned from suspension on Oct. 2 against Kansas City.

Williams had been a workhorse in Bell's absence, combining for 66 carries and 14 receptions that were turned into 258 yards rushing, 89 yards receiving and three TDs (two rushing, one receiving) in the Steelers' first three games.

"It was actually fun," Williams said of getting back in the swing with 67 rushing yards, 27 receiving and the two TDs against Cleveland. "I hadn't played in like a month and a half and getting an opportunity to come out and test the knee to make sure that everything's right, not for myself but for the coaches to see that, so moving forward they'll have enough (confidence) in me to let me go."


HUSTLE AWARD:** Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey made what might have been the play of the day when he tracked down cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun at the end of a 67-yard interception return to the Steelers' 1-yard line and forced a fumble as Boddy-Calhoun was trying to extend the ball into the end zone. Quarterback Landry Jones fell on the ball in the end zone and, following a replay review, a touchdown that would have given Cleveland a 20-7 lead with an extra point pending was reversed into a Steelers' possession at the Pittsburgh 20.

"We threw the pick and I understood if they score this touchdown they're going to go up 21-7 and we can't have that," Heyward-Bey said. "I just looked at the pylon, ran as fast as I could and made a play."
Heyward-Bey said he was on the other side of the field when the play began and covered "probably about 80" yards.

"Man, when you've been through what I've been through you just go out and play football," he said.

Heyward-Bey's lone reception went for 46 yards to the Cleveland 11 and set up the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 21-14, fourth-quarter lead.

But it was the touchdown-saving play that resonated.

"You gotta love football to make a play like that," free safety Mike Mitchell said. "That wasn't an accident. That's a guy in his eighth year, predominantly plays special teams, an interception when every guy could have given up, fighting his (butt) off to pluck that ball out, cause a touchback, take seven points off the board for them and give us an opportunity. That's the type of team we have. You have a guy that's in his eight year that's a (former) Top-10 draft pick (seventh overall by Oakland in 2009), I know he's not in the role he'd love to be in, but he's doing what his job requires and he's doing it in a big way for us."


Game action from Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns.

MIAMI TWICE:** The Dolphins' 35-14 loss to the Patriots punched the Dolphins' ticket to Pittsburgh for a first-round playoff matchup against the Steelers.

The Dolphins beat the Steelers, 30-15, on Oct. 16 in Miami.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left that game briefly with a knee injury and completed 19 of 34 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi carried 25 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, the first of three 200-plus rushing performances for Ajayi on the season.

"I'm looking forward to it," linebacker Ryan Shazier said. "They had a good rushing game against us. It's going to be a good test for us. We just have to play our ball, play our defense, and we're going to come out with a win.

"They ran for 200 yards, enough said there. We can't allow that at all, that's not our defense, what we stand for. We have to go out there and play Steeler defense."


"Going back to last week's news, people talking about our coach being a cheerleader, it's absurd. He's the best football coach in the game. And how he puts us in situations and prepares us, a lot of stuff isn't even on the field. It's about off the field, what type of man are you, what do you value, those type of things. He's the best coach I've ever had." _ Mitchell on head coach Mike Tomlin.

"There were a lot of guys that were in that huddle today that aren't necessarily under contract next year. There were a lot of guys in that huddle that hadn't seen significant playing time all year, and we have big business next week in the playoffs, so it gave them game-time action, game-time reps and allowed Coach to see what they can actually do in live football action. It did a lot for our team. From the outside looking in, all the people that were saying this is a meaningless game, it wasn't meaningless at all." _ Williams on beating Cleveland with nothing to gain in terms of playoff seeding.

"Both. We had a schematic adjustment based on what we were looking at and obviously we wanted to talk about the circumstances we were in. We had blades of grass to defend. We needed to defend them." _ Tomlin on whether the discussion during the timeout the Steelers took after the Browns achieved a first-and-goal from the Steelers' 9 in overtime was strategic or motivational in nature.

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