Breaking down the tape: The Drive

A look back at the Steelers' 18-16 win in Cincinnati via the magic of the DVR:}**


QB Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't say how far he was able to throw the football after re-entering the game for the Steelers' last-gasp drive inside the two-minute warning. Roethlisberger, who had been knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury on the last play of the third quarter, would only acknowledge that he wasn't able to throw it as far as he normally can.

Thanks to the players on the other end of Roethlisberger's passes, the Steelers were able to work around that.First-and-10, Steelers' 9-yard line (1:23 remaining):

Roethlisberger throws sideways to WR Martavis Bryant, who makes the catch at the 6 and gets blocks from WR Markus Wheaton (on CB Leon Hall), TE Ben Roethlisberger (on CB Chris Lewis-Harris) and G Ramon Foster (on LB Vontaze Burfict) on the way to a gain of 8.Second-and-2, Steelers' 17 (:59):

Roethlisberger throws incomplete for WR Antonio Brown at the 21.Third-and-2, Steelers' 17 (:54):

Roethlisberger lobs a pass into the right flat for RB Fitz Toussaint, who adjusts to the ball, makes a catch at the 21 and gets pushed out of bounds after a gain of 7.First-and-10, Steelers' 24 (:47):

Roethlisberger dumps it down to Toussaint again, this time at the 23, and Toussaint turns it into a 10-yard gain.First-and-10, Steelers' 34 (:41):

Roethlisberger looks for Toussaint again at the 32, but is pressured on the release and the pass falls incomplete.Second-and-10, Steelers' 34 (:37):

Roethlisberger throws sideways to Bryant at the 33, Wheaton (on Hall) and Miller (on CB Adam Jones) provide assistance again and Bryant gets shoved out of bounds by SS George Iloka (unblocked) after a gain of 3.Third-and-7, Steelers' 37 (:32):

Toussaint gets the ball on a draw. LT Alejandro Villanueva blocks DE Michael Johnson to the ground, but Johnson still manages to dive and get his left hand on Toussaint's left foot and limit the play to a gain of 4.**

The Steelers celebrate after winning a AFC Wild Card game against the Bengals on Jan. 9th 2016

Fourth-and-3, Steelers' 41 (:28):**

Miller picks Hall, Brown cuts left behind Miller and then ducks back under Hall, who is chasing Brown from behind. Brown's hard cut back to the right achieves separation from Hall and Roethlisberger hits Brown at the 45. Brown reaches the Bengals' 47.First-and-10, Bengals' 47 (:22):

Roethlisberger tries to go down the field to Brown at the 34 and overthrows him. But a penalty flag flies, and then another.

You know the rest.

The ball was thrown behind the line of scrimmage four times on the drive and more than 4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage just once _ on the incompletion to Brown that resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty against Burfict and, eventually, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Jones (officially a "no play").

"He gave us the indication that he couldn't throw the ball too deep," Bryant said.

The job got done, anyway.**


Bryant attributed his third-quarter touchdown reception to "just playing ball and reacting quick, quick reactions and … hamstring."

There was a little more to it than that.Second-and-goal, Bengals' 10:

Bryant lines up wide-right in an empty set. He gives CB Dre Kirkpatrick a stutter-step inside the 5 and then breaks for the back of the end zone. As Bryant adjusts to the ball and goes up with two hands for Roethlisberger's back-shoulder throw, Kirkpatrick lunges and makes contact with Bryant's right arm just after the ball arrives.

Bryant spins away from the contact with the ball in his right hand and pins it against his right hamstring before getting both feet down in the end zone on his way to a front-flip out of bounds.

Bryant winds up flat on his back with his right arm wrapped around his right leg and the ball still pinned to his right hamstring before eventually popping back up, pulling the ball back out from beneath his leg and spiking it with authority.

"Major style points," CBS play-by-play man Jim Nantz gushed. "That's one of the highlights to be played back forever."SIX NOT EIGHT:

The Steelers surrendered the lead with less than two minutes remaining but kept alive the possibility of winning the game with a field goal by stopping the Bengals' two-point conversion attempt and preventing Cincinnati from taking a three-point lead.Two-point attempt:

The Bengals break the huddle with a personnel group that includes three tight ends, two running backs and no wide receivers. TE Tyler Eifert shifts from the left side of the formation to the right as TE Tyler Kroft, TE C.J. Uzomah and RB Rex Burkhead shift from right to left pre-snap. The result is an unbalanced line.

The Steelers are in their base defense and react as if they know what's coming. LB Ryan Shazier tries to time the snap count on a blitz up the middle. LB Ryan Shazier fires off the ball from 2 yards deep in the end zone on an angle that suggests he's zeroed in on RB Jeremy Hill, who has started to flare out left after lining up to QB A.J. McCarron's left. DE Cam Heyward gets penetration between pulling LT Andrew Whitworth and pulling LG Clint Boiling.

McCarron's lateral forces Hill to lean back and his momentum spins him completely around as he catches the ball. Heyward forces Hill left as Shazier finds an open path to the backfield and CB William Gay beats Whitworth's attempted block on the edge. Shazier and Gay arrive at Hill together at the 9 and blast him back to the 15.

Without that play they might still be playing.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.