WHAT WENT RIGHT
* The Packers won the coin toss and elected to receive, but the Steelers defense pitched a three-and-out to open the game. The keys plays were turned in by Cam Heyward, who fought off a block and brought down Packers RB Eddie Lacy with one arm on second down. Then on third down, the Steelers ran a twist that allowed Lawrence Timmons to come in free to sack Matt Flynn.
* The Steelers answered the Packers first-quarter touchdown drive with one of their one, and it covered 73 yards in seven plays, with the touchdown coming on a 1-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders. Le’Veon Bell had 36 yards rushing on five carries during the possession, and the big pass play was a 36-yard completion to Antonio Brown. The score was tied, 7-7, at the end of the first quarter.
* Green Bay’s possession following the Steelers’ touchdown got off to a great start before fizzling and ending with another punt. A 21-yard completion to Jarrett Boykin became a 36-yard pickup when a personal foul penalty on Cam Hayward was added for a hit to the helmet of Matt Flynn. But a 15-yard facemask penalty on Josh Sitton and a sack by Jason Worilds forced a punt that Antonio Brown returned 41 yards.
* The Steelers closed to 14-10 at halftime with a 31-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham, a possession that got off to a very good start as the result of a 46-yard kickoff return by Emmanuel Sanders. During the first half, there were two 40-plus yard kickoff returns by the Steelers – the kickoff return by Sanders and a 41-yard punt return by Antonio Brown. On both occasions, the tackles were made by the respective kickers, a.k.a., defenseless players.
* Mat McBriar is a pretty good passer, as it turns out. On a fourth-and-2, the Steelers called for a fake punt, and McBriar rolled to his right after taking the snap and completed a 30-yard pass down the sideline to David Paulson. That became a 45-yard play when Packers tight end Jake Stoneburner was flagged for roughing the passer. On the next play, Ben Roethlisberger escaped pressure and ran 13 yards for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter.
* Le’Veon Bell became the first Steelers back this season to rush for 100 yards in a game, and he also lost his first fumble as an NFL player. On his first carry following his fumble, Bell ran for 25 yards to kick-start the Steelers on a touchdown drive that allowed them to re-take the lead, 24-21.
* On Green Bay’s first offensive play following the Steelers’ go-ahead touchdown, Matt Flynn was bumped by tight end Andrew Quarless as he attempted an out-pattern to Jarrett Boykin. Cortez Allen intercepted and returned the ball 40 yards for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 31-21 lead that they took into the fourth quarter.
* On a fourth-and-1 close to midfield with five minutes left in a tie game, the Steelers opted to go for it. Ben Roethlisberger completed a pass to Will Johnson for the first down.
* On a third-and-8 from the Packers 10-yard line, Matt Flynn couldn’t find anyone open and started running toward the first down marker along the left sideline. Troy Polamalu stripped the ball, and it was recovered by Brett Keisel at the Green Bay 18-yard line in a 31-31 game with 1:51 remaining.
WHAT WENT WRONG
* The Steelers’ opening offensive series began well, but it was sabotaged by a couple of pre-snap penalties. A false start on Marcus Gilbert created a first-and-15, and then a delay of game created a third-and-14. After a short completion to Emmanuel Sanders, Mat McBriar punted for the first time.
* On a second-and-10 during Green Bay’s second possession, Ike Taylor was in perfect position on a quick pass to WR James Jones. Taylor actually was between Jones and the quarterback when the ball was thrown. Matt Flynn’s pass went through Taylor’s hands and to Jones for an 8-yard gain. RB James Starks converted the third-and-2 with a short run to keep the Packers’ drive alive. The possession ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin for a 7-0 lead with 4:02 left in the first quarter.
* The thing this Packers defense does better than anything is rush the passer. Green Bay’s first sack of Ben Roethlisberger came with five minutes left in the first half. Clay Matthews beat Kelvin Beachum for the sack.
* On the punt following the Matthews sack, Mat McBriar’s kick was fair caught at the 13-yard line. But on the play, long-snapper Greg Warren was flagged for holding, and the re-kick was returned out to the Green Bay 29-yard line.
* The Packers continued on with the possession and it ended with a 71-yard drive ending in a 14-yard run by Eddie Lacy. Throughout this half, there have been a few occasions when a Green Bay offensive lineman was moving before the ball was snapped. No penalties were called.
* A sack by Stevenson Sylvester that would have forced a Packers punt midway through the third quarter was nullified by offsetting penalties away from the play. The one called on the Steelers was for illegal hands to the face on Cam Heyward. Two plays later, an incomplete pass that would have set up a third-and-10 turned into a first down because of a holding penalty on Jason Worilds.
* After the Packers couldn’t convert the fumble recovery into a touchdown, they lined up to settle for a field goal. Steve McLendon blocked the kick, Ryan Clark picked up the loose ball and tried to lateral to William Gay. With the ball bouncing around, Ziggy Hood directed it out of bounds. The Steelers were flagged for an illegal batting of the ball, and because none of the seven on-field officials saw Clark with possession – which was clear on replay – and because on-field possession of the ball is not something that can be challenged – at least according to referee Carl Cheffers – the Packers were awarded the ball and a first down at the Pittsburgh 3-yard line. Eddie Lacy scored on the next play to give the Packers a 21-17 lead.
* On the final play of the third quarter, a Ben Roethlisberger pass for Heath Miller was intercepted by linebacker A.J. Hawk. Fifteen yards was added to the return following a personal foul penalty on Matt Spaeth, and the Packers took possession at the Pittsburgh 23-yard line.
* On the kickoff following the Packers touchdown that tied the game, 31-31, Felix Jones couldn’t field the ball cleanly at the goal line, and then he slipped down at the 11-yard line.