With the Browns losing 24-10 to Pittsburgh and falling to 3-6, the playoffs are now a possibility only from a mathematician's perspective.
The more pressing question now centers on Butch Davis' future as Browns coach if the season continues to disintegrate.
That decision will be up to owner Randy Lerner. Davis is confident he has Lerner's support.
"Randy and I speak frequently," Davis said. "We talk after every ballgame. I do believe Randy clearly understands the challenges we've had as organization over the last two years. It hasn't been easy. There have been an awful lot of very, very difficult things to have to overcome.
"He is clearly in the loop and knows exactly what those issues are. He knows where we are with the team from a talent, from a coaching and preparation (standpoint), and I think he's very supportive."
Davis' name has come up in reference to a few college coaching jobs already. Monday, he said he is concentrating only on Cleveland.
"My entire purpose is to do everything humanly possible to build a team that wins a Super Bowl for the Cleveland fans and the Browns," Davis said. "That's my obsession. It rips my guts out to have to come in here and talk about not playing well and fighting through some of the issues we've got.
"Losing sucks. Let's be real. Losing is something that if you're a competitor or player or coach, it's miserable. The only cure for this misery is winning."
KISS AND MAKE UP: Browns running back William Green said Steelers linebacker Joey Porter called him after Sunday's game, a game in which neither played after being ejected following a pre-game brawl.
"We talked after the game, and we both realized it got out of control," Green said. "We cleared the air and there are no hard feelings."
Green said he and Porter have a history of trash-talking with each other.
"Usually every game we exchange words," Green said. "That's something we do."
Green said Porter went beyond that Sunday.
"He spit in my face. That's when I went back at him and pushed him and spit back at him."
Punches ensued. One bloodied Green's mouth.
"On TV, it looks bad," Green said. "It looks like I just took off and pushed him and spit in his face. That's not the way it happened. That's all they see.
"The last thing I would do is spit in another man's face. I would rather someone punch me than spit in my face."
GARCIA TO START: After giving conflicting signals after Sunday's game, Browns coach Butch Davis said Jeff Garcia would definitely start against the Jets.
Kelly Holcomb saw his first action of the season after Davis pulled Garcia with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, a move more to show mercy to Garcia than dissatisfaction with his performance.
"Make no mistake about it," Davis said. "Jeff Garcia is the starting quarterback."
Garcia struggled Sunday, largely because of numerous protection breakdowns and the inability to run the ball.
"We just have to give him the opportunity to be successful and keep the wolves off him," Davis said.
- DB Lewis Sanders had the only injury Sunday when he left the game briefly
with a sore wrist.
- K Phil Dawson made a 31-yard field goal to extend his streak of
successful kicks to 27, most in the NFL.
- DT Gerard Warren, whose inflammatory threat directed at Steelers
quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made headlines last week, was credited with two
tackles. He is 19th on the Browns with eight tackles for the season.
- LB Chaun Thompson and DB Chris Crocker had a sack Sunday, the first time
a non-defensive lineman has gotten a sack all season. But both sacks came
after Roethlisberger slipped.
- WR Frisman Jackson had a career-high five catches for 61 yards.
- QB Jeff Garcia surpassed 18,000 career passing yards with a 58-yard completion to Dennis Northcutt, the longest in Northcutt's five-year career.