PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Cleveland Browns have been haunted for 16 years by The Drive. Now they’ve got to live with The Comeback by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tommy Maddox, the Comeback Player of the Year, led one of Pittsburgh’s great comebacks ever, throwing three touchdown passes in the final 19 minutes as the Steelers rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to stun the Browns 36-33 yesterday in an AFC wild-card game.

Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala’s three-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds left won it as the Steelers, coming off so many playoff disappointments at home under coach Bill Cowher, kept their postseason going with one of the franchise’s most memorable victories.

“I don’t think anybody in the building thought we weren’t going to win,” Browns quarterback Kelly Holcomb said. “I think everybody thought we were going to go on.”

They Steelers denied the Browns their first road playoff victory since 1969, their first playoff win of any kind since returning to the NFL in 1999 and gave themselves a huge momentum lift going into Saturday’s divisional round game at AFC second-seeded Tennessee.

The Jets, shutout winners Saturday over the Colts, now play next Sunday at top-seeded Oakland – no doubt after thinking for most of the afternoon they were going to Tennessee.

“I was already in Oakland,” Browns receiver Kevin Johnson said, wistfully, referring to where Cleveland would have played.

Not even the Steelers of the ’70s ever pulled off a comeback from a deficit like this mostly because they rarely fell behind like this. Even in the famed Immaculate Reception game, they trailed Oakland only 7-6 before Franco Harris’ game-winning tipped pass scoring catch in 1972.

“It’s one of those wins that you can’t see happening, but you just keep hoping it will keep going the way it’s going,” Steelers coach Bill Cowher said of the frantic comeback.

For the Browns, it was an eerie flashback to John Elway’s memorable 98-yard “The Drive” to beat the Browns for Denver in a 1987 playoff game.

The Steelers were shredded all afternoon by Holcomb, who threw for 429 yards and three touchdowns, and trailed 24-7 until Maddox’s six-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

“I can’t say how many times I must have said, ‘We’ve got time. We have time, so don’t panic,’ ” offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey said. “I never felt there was a panic button pushed by anyone.”

Except the Browns.

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