Postgame Takes

Steelers improve to 9-2 after last second win

It took the full 60 minutes, but the Steelers came through with an exciting last second 31-28 win over the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field.

The win improves the Steelers record to 9-2, and keeps them at the top of the AFC, as well as a stronghold on the AFC North.

Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 33 passes for 351 yards, got the ball back in his hands with just 17 seconds to play, the game tied at 28-28, and got to work. Roethlisberger went to Antonio Brown, Mr. Reliable, who pulled in two receptions, including a sideline catch that amazed everyone in Heinz Field, except maybe his teammates who are accustomed to it.

"I was able to get my hands and feet in a good position and secure the catch and come down with it," said Brown.

It set up Chris Boswell for a 53-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

“It’s a hard kick,” said Boswell. “The wind was pushing right to left. You aim a little far right and expect it to move a little bit.” 

Brown had a monster game with 10 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Martavis Bryant had four receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown, while Le’Veon Bell had 12 receptions for 88 yards, and 20 carries for 95 yards.

The defense came up with some hugh plays, including two sacks by Cameron Heyward, who now has a career-high nine for the season.

“We preserved in the face of adversity,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “We didn’t blink. We stayed together and made the necessary plays to win.”

The Steelers came out strong on their opening drive, benefactors of good field position thanks to Bryant’s first-ever kickoff return, a 38-yard return to the Steelers 41-yard line. Roethlisberger hit  Brown right off the bat for 20 yards, and connected with Bryant for a 10-yard gain. Le’Veon Bell took it for 11 yards, and Jesse James battled his way to the four-yard line on a 10-yard reception. They had to work for it when they got close though. Justin Hunter couldn’t pull in a reception in the end zone, and Bryant was tripped up just shy of the goal line. On fourth-and-one, Roethlisberger hit Xavier Grimble for a one-yard scoring strike, but Chris Boswell’s extra point went wide left, giving the Steelers an early 6-0 lead.

Just like the Steelers, the Packers had good field position, at their 40-yard line, on their first drive after Vince Williams was hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty. The defense looked like they held when Stephon Tuitt sacked Brett Hundley on third-and-five, but Artie Burns was called for illegal use of the hands, giving the Packers new life. And they took advantage. Hundley connected with Randall Cobb for a 39-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 7-6 lead.

Damarious Randall intercepted Roethlisberger. Randall appeared to return it 55 yards for a score, but he was ruled down at the point of the interception, the Packers taking over at their own 45-yard line.

It didn’t take long, though, for the Packers to find their way back to the end zone. Hundley hit Jamaal Williams on a screen pass, and he broke free for a 54-yard touchdown pass and 14-6 lead.

Just when the Steelers needed a spark, Brown delivered, pulling in a 39-yard reception on third-and-five to give the Steelers the ball at the Packers 21-yard line. Roethlisberger got the Steelers back in it when he hit Bryant for a 17-yard touchdown. The Steelers went for two, and Roethlisberger hit Brown, tying the game, 14-14.

The Packers came out and struck fast in the second half. Hundley hit Davante Adams for a 55-yard touchdown, capping a six-play, 76-yard drive, that put the Packers up, 21-14.

On the ensuing drive, Ahman Brooks tipped Roethlisberger’s pass that was intended for Bell, and it was intercepted by Blake Martinez and returned three yards to the Steelers 45-yard line.

With the pressure on, the defense stepped up and shut the door when Heyward sacked Hundley for a three-yard loss. The Packers were forced to bring on Mason Crosby, whose 57-yard field goal attempt fell short.

Game action photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Bell took it for 12 yards, and Roethlisberger scrambled for an eight-yard gain. Roethlisberger went back to Bell, who broke for a 15-yard reception. And when you need him, Brown always comes through with another one of his acrobatic catches, an 11-yarder to the one-yard line. The Steelers hit pay dirt when Roethlisberger went right back to Brown for a one-yard touchdown, getting them right back in the game, tied at 21-21.

After the defense came up with a huge stop, the Packers got the ball right back after Le’Veon Bell fumbled and Martinez recovered. But again, the defense came up with a huge stop, getting the ball right back in the hands of Roethlisberger.

The Steelers stayed hot on the next drive. After Roethlisberger was sacked for a 10-yard loss, he hit Bell for a 14-yard gain, then Eli Rogers pulled in a tough 11-yard reception. Roethlisberger threaded the needle to Bell for a 12-yard gain, and then Bell came right back with an 11-yard run. It would be Brown who would again come up with the splash play for the offense, pulling in a reception at the nine-yard line and then working the sideline for a 33-yard touchdown, giving the Steelers a 28-21 lead.

The Packers tied the game, 28-28, with just 2:02 to play, when they drove down the field and capped the drive with a four-yard run by Adams.

After the Steelers were unable to convert, the defense was asked to step up again. T.J. Watt sacked Hundley for a six-yard loss. Hundley completed a short pass to Williams, who was pushed out of bounds by Ryan Shazier. On third down, Williams had nowhere to go, stopped by Shazier after just a four-yard gain and forcing a punt.

The Steelers took over with just 17 ticks on the clock, and that’s all they needed. Brown came up with two amazing catches, including one where he miraculously kept his feet in bounds. His second catch set up Boswell for the game-winning 53-yard field goal.

First Quarter: Steelers 6, Packers 0
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger one-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Grimble. Boswell kick wide left.
Scoring Summary: 12-59-6:46

First Quarter: Steelers 6, Packers 7
Scoring Play: Brett Hundley 39-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.
Scoring Summary: 6-60-3:29

First Quarter: Steelers 6, Packers 14
Scoring Play: Brett Hundley 54-yard touchdown pass Jamaal Williams.
Scoring Summary: 3-55-0:50

Second Quarter: Steelers 14, Packers 14
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger 17-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant. Roethlisberger to Brown for two-point conversion.
Scoring Summary: 5-65-2:51

Third Quarter: Steelers 14, Packers 21
Scoring Play: Brett Hundley 55-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams.
Scoring Summary: 6-76-2:54

Third Quarter: Steelers 21, Packers 21
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger one-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown.
Scoring Summary: 6-53-3:25

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 28, Packers 21
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger 33-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown.
Scoring Summary: 7-68-4:14 Fourth Quarter: Steelers 28, Packers 28
Scoring Play: Davante Adams four-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 12-77-6:40

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 31, Packers 28
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 53-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 4-35-0:17

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