By David Carducci Record-Courier staff writer CLEVELAND A last-second goal-line stand that will live forever in Cleveland football lore and a heroic performance by rookie running back William Green helped the Cleveland Browns to a 24-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday and their first playoff berth since 1994. Even after all of the excitement by the lakefront, the Browns had to wait almost three hours before learning they had clinched a spot in the postseason. The New York Jets 35-17 win over Green Bay Sunday night eliminated Miami and New England, giving the Browns the final AFC wild card to the playoffs. The Browns will face the arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers in their playoff opener next week at Pittsburghs Heinz Field. The Steelers beat the Browns in both of their regular season meetings, 16-13 in a Sept. 29 overtime game in Pittsburgh and 23-20 in Cleveland Nov. 11. The thrilling victory over the Falcons and the tension that followed while watching the out-of-town scoreboard were a fitting end to a regular season filled with dramatic finishes. Including Sunday, twelve games were decided in the final seconds. I think a lot of those close ballgames were a dress rehearsal for today, said Browns coach Butch Davis. Our guys continued to fight and play. I cant tell you how proud I am of this football team. Green ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including a 64-yard run to give the Browns their eight-point lead with 3:53 remaining in the game, but the Browns still needed their defense to come to save the day in the closing seconds. After Atlanta picked up a first down inside the Cleveland 5-yard line with just over a minute to play, the Browns forced one incompletion and stuffed Falcons running back Warrick Dunn on third and fourth down dives from the Browns 1-yard line to seal the victory. Our defense had a heroic goal line stand at the end of the game and certainly that was the winning series, but they had some unbelievable defensive possessions throughout the game against Michael Vick and his scrambling ability. The days only disappointment was the loss of Browns starting quarterback Tim Couch, who fractured his right fibula late in the first quarter. Couch was replaced by Kelly Holcomb, who struggled most of the day, but tossed a key 15-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Johnson to give the Browns a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter. While Davis called Couchs injury a minor fracture that will be re-evaluated today, it is likely that Holcomb will be the Browns starting quarterback in Pittsburgh next week.