Sports

Steelers looking for hot December to even out erratic performance

  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) heads to the locker room after a 35-32 loss to the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. Roethlisberger left the field after the game without shaking hands with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) heads to the locker room after a 35-32 loss to the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. Roethlisberger left the field after the game without shaking hands with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell (23) sits on the bench in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Pittsburgh. New Orleans won 35-32. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

    Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell (23) sits on the bench in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Pittsburgh. New Orleans won 35-32. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball as New Orleans Saints inside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) pursues in the first quarter of the NFL game , Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

    Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball as New Orleans Saints inside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) pursues in the first quarter of the NFL game , Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)  (The Associated Press)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to avoid a long December.

Pittsburgh has been one of the NFL's best closers over the years and are 20-13 in games played after Dec. 1 under coach Mike Tomlin. That record, however, includes a 5-4 mark the last two years as the Steelers failed to make the playoffs.

The Steelers (7-5) will try to rebound from a one-sided loss to New Orleans when they play first-place Cincinnati on Sunday. Pittsburgh is part of a logjam of teams at 7-5 and likely needs to win at least three of its final four games to reach the postseason.

Running back Le'Veon Bell says his team can't afford to look too far down the road and needs to concentrate on the surging Bengals.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP_NFL