It wasn't quite Immaculate, but it was the ending the Steelers needed on a night when they were celebrating the life of Franco Harris.
Kenny Pickens threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie George Pickens with 46 seconds remaining to lift the Steelers to a 13-10 victory over the Raiders here on a frigid Christmas Eve at Acrisure Stadium as the two teams celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.
The Steelers retired the Harris' No. 32 at halftime in a ceremony that was somewhat somber. Harris passed away earlier this week at the age of 72.
Players wore his jersey before and after the game. Defensive lineman Cam Heyward carried a flag with No. 32 on it onto the field when he was announced with the rest of the defense. It was that kind of emotional night.
"I'm just so thankful of the effort of the guys. We had a chance to be a part of Steeler history tonight and we don't take that lightly," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who like many in the organization were sporting No. 32 jerseys before and after the game. "We're just so appreciative of the ground that's been laid by those that have come before us, the men like this man's jersey that I'm wearing right here."
And though the ending of this game didn't rise to the level of the greatest play in NFL history, it certainly didn't lack for drama.
"Obviously, we didn't have the Immaculate Reception, but it was a cool way to pull it out," said Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth, who had three big catches on the game-winning drive. "It was a low-scoring game. It was cool, awesome to be a part of. We appreciate all the fans that came in the cold. It was a great environment."
After Pickens' touchdown, Cam Sutton intercepted a Derek Carr pass down the middle of the field intended for Hunter Renfrow to seal the victory for the Steelers. Carr threw three interceptions.
The Steelers got the ball at their own 24-yard line needing a touchdown to improve to 7-8 on the season.
Pickett, who finished 26 of 39 for 244 yards with a touchdown and interception, connected three times each to Freiermuth and running back Najee Harris to quickly move the Steelers into scoring range for the winning score. Pickett also converted a fourth-and-1 on the play prior to throwing the game-winning score to Pickens to keep the drive alive.
Freiermuth had seven catches for 66 yards, while Pickens had five catches for 57 yards and a score and Diontae Johnson five receptions for 64 yards. Harris had 53 yards rushing and six receptions for 42 yards.
"I think all the guys made plays. They made the plays when called upon," said Tomlin. "I think the end the game a kind of reflected that. Muth made a big play. Naj made a big play jumping somebody. (Pickens) made a play in the end zone. We just got a bunch of young guys that's got some talent. They're getting better. They are good enough win as that happens."
The Steelers dominated the overall play in the game, holding the Raiders (6-9) to 201 total yards, 72 of which came on Las Vegas' opening possession. Davante Adams, the Raiders' top receiver and one of the best in the NFL, managed just two receptions for 15 yards on nine targets.
"We didn't do anything out of the ordinary on him," said Sutton. "We made sure we always knew where he was at and were aware of him."
The Raiders took the game's opening kickoff and marched methodically down the field. Josh Jacobs, the NFL's leading rusher entering the weekend, had five carries for 26 yards and Carr completed 4 of his 5 passes, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Refrow. Jacobs finished with just 44 yards on 15 carries.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 16 game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium
Renfrow caught the pass around the 10, deked cornerback Sutton, and scooted into the end zone for the touchdown.
The Steelers got the better of the play from there for most of the remainder of the first half, but didn't have much to show for it.
Despite Najee Harris running for 35 yards on his next seven carries and Jaylen Warren gaining 22 yards on five rushing attempts, the Steelers managed just a pair of field goal attempts, both in the second quarter.
Chris Boswell pushed his first attempt, from 43 yards, wide left, but was good on a second attempt late in the first half from 44 yards.
The Raiders, however, who had picked up just two first downs after their opening touchdown drive, got a 40-yard field goal from Daniel Carlson with 5 seconds remaining in the first half. Tight end Darren Waller had a 34-yard catch on third-and-10 from midfield to set up the kick.
The Steelers drove to the Las Vegas 35 on the opening possession of the second half, but on second-and-11, Pickett was intercepted by Raiders linebacker Denzel Perryman, ending a streak of 146 consecutive passes without an interception for the rookie.
Perryman returned the ball to the Pittsburgh 47, but on the next play, Arthur Maulet intercepted Carr and returned it to the Pittsburgh 44.
But Boswell missed a second field goal attempt, pushing a 52-yard attempt wide left to keep the score at 10-3.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, however, came up with an interception off a pass that went through the hands of Renfrow on the Raiders' ensuing possession, giving the Steelers the ball back at their own 29. It was Fitzpatrick's team-high fifth interception of the season.
The Steelers were unable to move the ball from there and punted back to the Raiders.
A facemask penalty on Las Vegas tight end Foster Moreau negated a long run by Jacobs and Alex Highsmith recorded his team-best 12th sack of the season to force a Raiders punt that went out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 45.
The Steelers drove to the Las Vegas 22, but were forced to settle for another Boswell field goal, this one from 40 yards that cut the Raiders' lead to 10-6 with 9:47 remaining in the game.
"We just want to honor (Harris), his teammates, and all the men that have come before us that's made the black and gold what it is," Tomlin said. "So we're just thankful to get the victory. I think it was a grow-up evening for us. Obviously this was not an easy game, but we showed resolve, we complemented one another, we stood up and didn't blink, even when it got thick."