DENVER — The Browns did their part Saturday night to keep their playoff hopes flickering.

Now they're hoping for some help on Sunday.

Despite their 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos in a nationally televised prime-time game, the Browns (6-7-1) would be eliminated from playoff contention Sunday if the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1) defeat the New England Patriots (9-4), the Indianapolis Colts (7-6) prevail over the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) and the Tennessee Titans (7-6) triumph over the New York Giants (5-8), according to ESPN Stats and Information.

If the Browns avoid elimination this weekend, they'll still need to win their final two games — Cincinnati at home Dec. 23 and Baltimore on the road Dec. 30 — and receive more assistance to earn their first postseason berth since 2002.

"Every week is playoff week," strong safety Jabrill Peppers said. "You can't look too far ahead. That's how you slip up. You look at every game as a playoff game. We can only control what we can control. We know some people have to lose, but we have no control over that. The only thing we can control is going out there and win every game.

"You've got Cincy and home, and you've got the Ravens on the road — two AFC North games. You know I'm excited, man. Go down to Baltimore on the East Coast, play those guys down there, and then Cincy comes to us first. So those are playoff games right there, and if God blesses us, he blesses us. But if not, this is good stepping-stones for next year."

Peppers and free safety Damarious Randall said they'll watch the Patriots visit Steelers, beginning at 4:25 p.m. Sunday. An AFC North crown is still a remote possibility for the Browns.

"I always grew up a [Tom] Brady fan, so why change now?" Randall said.

Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield wouldn't commit to tuning in.

"We’ll see," he said. "I think we get back [home from our flight] at about 4 in the morning, so I might be sleeping."

Growing connection

On third-and-9 on the Browns' first possession, wide receiver Breshad Perriman jumped to catch a 31-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield as he fell into the end zone with Broncos cornerback Tramaine Brock closely covering him. With the four-play, 51-yard drive, highlighted by Perriman's first touchdown since Dec. 4, 2016, the Browns captured a 7-0 advantage with 11:49 left in the first quarter.

"It was amazing," Perriman said of scoring a TD. "It was a great feeling. It feels even better than we got the win. I'm just blessed and thankful that I got it.

"I knew it was man coverage from the start, and I knew Bake could throw it to me. He threw the ball in a perfect place."

Perriman and Mayfield have connected for big plays in back-to-back games. Perriman caught a 66-yard pass on the offense's first snap in last week's 26-20 win over the Carolina Panthers.

"He’s got a lot of confidence right now, and I have a lot of confidence in him," Mayfield said. "He’s making plays, as you guys have seen the last few weeks, and that’s one of those things. Not a lot of people can make that catch. A guy all over him, a high ball, go up and make a catch, a competitive catch at that, a huge play on third down and long. That was big time.

"I trust those receivers, and they need to know that. Putting the ball up for them to make a play, I trust Breshad right now. He’s been making the plays, and they feed off that. You build that confidence with them, and the next one, I guarantee he catches, too."

Overdue

Cornerback TJ Carrie's interception early in the fourth quarter that set up Mayfield's go-ahead, 2-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Antonio Callaway was Carrie's first pick since Dec. 8, 2016, and the fourth of his career.

"It's been a while," Carrie said. "You play in this game, you're forced to play so much man [coverage] that you end up getting a lot of [pass breakups] instead of picks, so that was a good, fortunate opportunity. [The coaches] put us in the right call and put me in the perfect position to go make the play, and I ended up capitalizing on it."

Under the weather

Defensive end Myles Garrett played through an illness. He didn't get a sack, but he had two quarterback hits, including when Case Keenum threw incomplete on the Broncos' second-to-last play.

"It's all in my throat," Garrett said of being sick. "Even before I got on the field, I felt like I was breathing through a straw. Got to go out there and do my job. Nobody's going to say, 'Oh, Myles is sick. We've got to take it easy. We won't run his way.' Just got to go out there, be a man and suck it up."

Grounded

Broncos rookie running back Phillip Lindsay entered the game with an NFL-best 5.8 yards per carry, but the Browns held him to an average of 1.7 (24 yards on 14 carries).

"We really forced them out of their game plan," Carrie said. "We took away their strength, which was the running game. We knew coming into this game, take away and forcing them to pass, which is something they hadn't had to do in so many games. We knew we were going to give up plays here and there, but when you force your opponent to play to its weakness, you have a better chance of winning."

"Lindsay is a hell of a player, and we had to slow him down tonight," defensive end Chris Smith added. "We knew it was going to start up front as a defense, so we were going to challenge ourselves, and that was the main thing of the game plan — make them one-dimensional and make them pass the ball."

Quotable

The Browns snapped what had been the longest active losing streak one NFL team had against another, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Browns prevailed against the Broncos (6-8) for the first time since Oct. 8, 1990, ending the 11-game drought.

"Five years later, I was born," Mayfield said. "So that was a long time."

Heated exchange

Broncos cornerback Jamar Taylor, formerly of the Browns, used his left hand to take a shot at Perriman's face mask as a play ended with 39 seconds left in the third quarter. Taylor was ejected. Perriman retaliated by getting in Taylor's face, and both players were flagged. The penalties were offsetting.

"Yeah, I can't do that, though," Perriman said when asked if he was surprised his reaction drew a flag. "I put this team in harm's way, and I can't do that. I'll never make that mistake again. If I could go back, I would definitely take it back. It just was in the moment."

Guest speaker

Mayfield reflected on NBA legend Kobe Bryant addressing the Browns during their team meeting Friday afternoon in Denver.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kobe," Mayfield said. "He’s just one of those guys, attitude-wise, there’s no one else in the world like him. He’s just unbelievable. He was one of my idols growing up. I’m not good at basketball, so not like that, but just mentality-wise, work ethic, determination, will to win.

"It was so awesome getting to hear from him. He was so honest about everything, and you don’t normally get to hear that from somebody. It was good for us to hear that, and I really enjoyed that."

Extra points

• Rookie running back Nick Chubb reached the 100-yard rushing plateau for the third time this season. He finished with 100 yards on 20 carries (5 average) and had a long run of 40 yards to start the Browns' final possession.

• The Browns increased their number of takeaways this season to 30 by intercepting Keenum twice.

• Britton Colquitt placed two punts inside the 20-yard line. His 32 punts inside the 20 this season are tied for the most in franchise history.

• Linebacker Jamie Collins had a sack, his third this season. He has 16.5 in his career.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.