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their experience officiating in high-le

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PITTSBURGH -- Forget the 0-4 start. Forget the remarkable finish, the one that kept the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoff picture until the final minutes of the regular season. Theres no such thing as partial credit in the NFL. "We were an 8-8 team," safety Troy Polamalu said. One that will spend January at home for a second straight year. LeVeon Bell ran for 90 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers drubbed the lifeless Browns 20-7 on Sunday, though Pittsburghs bid to become the second team in NFL history to go winless in September and make the playoffs ended when San Diego edged Kansas City 27-24 in overtime. "We are going to build on this," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "I think we have put together a good foundation." One that went 6-2 over the final eight weeks, recovering from a potentially franchise-altering 55-31 loss to New England on Nov. 3 to play perhaps the best football in the AFC by someone not named Denver over the second half. Or, the exact opposite of what happened in Cleveland, which fired first-year coach Rob Chudzinski hours after the game. The Browns (4-12) lost their final seven games and 10 of their last 11. Not exactly the step forward new owner Jimmy Haslam was looking for with a roster littered with five Pro Bowl players. "We needed to see progress with this football team," the Browns said in a statement after firing Chudzinski. "We needed to see development and improvement as the season evolved and, unfortunately, we took a concerning step backward in the second half of the year. "Our fans deserve to see a consistently competitive team. We have high standards, and theres an urgency for success. When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward." Chudzinskis players did something after the game they failed to do during it: rally around their coach. "Its just absurd to me that a report would be out like that, about a good coach like that," Browns linebacker DQwell Jackson said. "Its crazy, and that (ticked) me off when I heard that." Cleveland didnt exactly play angry while letting the Steelers roll to victory for the 26th time in 31 meetings since the Browns were revived in 1999. Roethlisberger passed for 179 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions as Pittsburgh won its third straight to avoid the franchises first losing season since 2003. "Guys just kept fighting," Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. "Wasnt anything glorious or something beautiful, we just came out of nowhere." Jason Campbell completed 23 of 41 passes for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Josh Gordon caught seven passes for 82 yards to finish with an NFL-high 1,646 yards receiving, a first for the franchise. It proved little solace on a wet, miserable day at Heinz Field in which Cleveland looked very much like the same old Browns. Cleveland was largely noncompetitive over the seasons final three months, with seven losses by a touchdown or more, including two to the Steelers by a combined 47-18. There is no sense of panic in Pittsburgh. A season that appeared teetering on embarrassment after the record-setting loss to the Patriots ended up with a decidedly rosier finish. The Steelers scored on the opening drive, a 9-yard strike from Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery, and it was more than enough. Whenever the Browns threatened, they found a way to botch it. Twice they failed on fourth-down attempts in Pittsburgh territory and didnt reach the end zone until Campbell found Fozzy Whitaker on a 35-yard pass with 2:46 remaining. By then most of the attention had turned to the scoreboard, where the biggest roars were saved for scores by the Bengals and Jets, who then won to boost Pittsburghs playoff chances. Kansas City nearly did the same, but Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation and San Diego survived. Still, the Steelers remain convinced better days lay ahead, thanks in part to Bells rapid development. He broke Hall of Famer Franco Harris team record for total yards from scrimmage by a rookie by combining for 96 yards in the muck at Heinz Field. Bell finished with 1,259 total yards in just 13 games, 24 more than the mark of 1,235 Harris set in 1972. Bells 5-yard touchdown burst in the second quarter, which included a nifty spin move in the backfield, gave the Steelers a 14-0 lead at the break. It capped an 87-yard drive in which he touched the ball 10 times in 14 plays. That was plenty for a rejuvenated defence that sacked Campbell three times, including a strip fumble by defensive end Brett Keisel, likely playing his final regular-season game of his 12-year career with Pittsburgh. Despite the outcome, Keisel isnt closing the door on a return. "I still feel like I can play," Keisel said. "You know, well see." Just not until 2014. NOTES: Brown caught nine passes for 97 yards to finish with 110 receptions on the season, narrowly missing the club mark of 112 set by Hines Ward in 2012. ... Roethlisberger finished with 4,261 yards passing, the second-highest total in team history to his 4,328 in 2009. Marquette King Jersey . Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., were second with 77.01 points, just behind Olympic bronze medallists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany. The four-time world champs lead at 79. Ronnie Lott Jersey . Next years tournament is also within sight for Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has never played in a World Cup, but Cristiano Ronaldo looks destined for the playoffs with Portugal after a night when the qualifying picture in the nine groups became much clearer. http://www.theraidersfansclub.com/.com) - The Carolina Panthers won for the first time in seven games last week, were without Cam Newton due to a car accident this week, but somehow sit atop the much-maligned NFC South. Jerry Rice Jersey . This should be celebrated because it will not always be this way. With the amount of money given to players by their clubs these days, it is a wonder that so many of those teams allow the sport to continue to take away many of their assets so they can play for a different team in the middle of their season. Aldon Smith Jersey . This was one of them. Omar Infante homered and tied a career high with six RBIs to carry the Kansas City Royals over the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 on Sunday.Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca. Hi Kerry, Welcome back! Im sure you heard Peter Forsbergs comments last week regarding Canadian referees in the gold medal game. Seems to me that he was questioning the integrity and impartiality.Did you think there was anything peculiar about this decision? Thanks,Ed Hi Ed: I am thrilled that NHL hockey is back and we can all adjust our watches back to the North American time zone! Initially, I was surprised by the expletive-deleted comments Peter Forsberg made the day before the Gold Medal game and following the IIHFs selection of four North American NHL officials to work the Canada-Sweden game. Even though the officials nationality and residency slanted exclusively toward Canadian soil, the timing of Forsbergs comments (the day before the puck was dropped) caused me to pause and consider the Swedish general managers motives. Ive seen plenty of "gamesmanship" from general managers and coaches during Stanley Cup playoffs and finals, but Peter Forsbergs public comments rank up near the top of the list in attempting to gain an advantage and competitive edge. Peter was not only a world class player but I also know him to be a very intense competitor. That being said, Peter is not a stupid man and made a calculated move in hopes of gaining some advantage for his players against a highly skilled Canadian team. I believe Peters comments were designed to put the IIHF on notice in the event he felt the need to complain post-game but most importantly to plant a seed in the head of each game official hoping his team might receive the benefit of the doubt when one could be offered. It also became a story the day before the game designed to deflect some of the pressure away from Team Sweden players. I dont believe that Peter Forsberg would honestly question the integrity and impartiality of the NHL Officials that were assigned to work the game. Kelly Sutherland, Brad Meir, Derek Amell and Greg Devorski were selected on the merit of their work during the Olympics and weere regarded as the very best! They are professionals in the true sense of the word.dddddddddddd The players have more confidence in the NHL officials ability than their International counterparts. Swedish team captain Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings believed that both teams would benefit from North American officials when he was quoted as saying, "We are used to having referees from USA and Canada in the NHL. We know their standards so I think its easier for us too if the referees are from there." And teammate Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators agreed. Prior to 1998, the IIHF would not assign an official to work a game in which his country of nationality was participating in. Only neutral officials were assigned. That changed in Nagano with the inclusion of NHL players and officials. The best officials were assigned to the games regardless of their country of nationality or residency. In response to Peter Forsbergs comments, IIHF officiating manager Konstantin Komisarov issued the following statement on the selection process; "The main factor of the selection of these officials has most of all to do with their experience officiating in high-level competitions. These include Stanley Cup playoffs, World Championship competitions and Olympic competitions. Their nationalities arent considered as factors nor should they be, we want the best officials working the medal games. We are fully confident that with their experience and professionalism these officials will do their job well and preserve the integrity of the game." Good for Konstantin Komissarov and the IIHF officiating committee for selecting the best officials to work the Gold Medal game. The officiating crew did an outstanding job and preserved the integrity of the game as Konstantin was confident they would. Last Sunday, the game was played on Olympic ice in Sochi and not in the media. Peter Forsbergs silver medal-winning Swedish team was beaten fair and square by Canada to take Gold. The officiating was a complete non-factor; regardless of county of nationality. NHL officials are clearly the best in the world. Cheap Jerseys From China NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale NFL White Jerseys Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys White Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap NFL Womens Jerseys ' ' '

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