Steelers Hold On For Wild Win Against Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After an exhilarating win in the snow, Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu got even better news when he returned to the locker room.
Remarkably, the Steelers are still in the playoff chase.
Polamalu's forced fumble set up Le'Veon Bell's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:28 left, then Pittsburgh withstood Green Bay's last throw into the end zone and dealt the Packers' playoff hopes a blow with a 38-31 victory Sunday.
It's a longshot, but the Steelers (7-8), after starting 0-4 this season, are still mathematically in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot. They need a lot of help.
It would be a near-miracle if they can get through another week. The Steelers need to beat the Browns in Week 17, and need the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers -- all 8-7 -- to lose.
The Packers were back in control by night's end. The Bears lost 54-11, turning next week's matchup with Green Bay into a showdown for the NFC North title at Soldier Field.
Bell's TD came soon after scrambling Packers quarterback Matt Flynn fumbled while being tackled by Polamalu. The Steelers recovered at the Packers 17 and scored five plays later, aided in part by an encroachment penalty by the Packers' Nick Perry, on what would have been a field-goal attempt, to extend the drive.
The last few seconds were marred by a false start penalty that pushed the Packers back to the 6 and included a 10-second runoff down to 10 seconds remaining. The Packers didn't get the snap off until 3 seconds were left, and Flynn said it appeared the umpire was holding up the center but started the clock while backing up.
Just like the rest of the second half.
Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dashed through the snow for a 13-yard score in the third quarter.
But a rarely seen illegal batting call nearly spoiled the Steelers night
After the Steelers blocked the kick, a scramble ensued and the jostled ball ended up near the sideline, where Steelers defensive lineman Ziggy Hood poked it out of bounds. After conferring for a few minutes, the officials penalized Hood and gave possession to Green Bay, ruling the Steelers never controlled the ball after the block and that it never crossed the line of scrimmage of the Steelers 5.
Safety Ryan Clark said he could have picked up the ball, but he was slowed after spraining his ankle in the game and tried to lateral the ball, but it squirted free and eventually got to Hood.
Given another chance, Eddie Lacy barreled into the end zone from 2 yards for a 21-17 lead.
Instead of sulking, the Steelers answered quickly.
Ben Roethlisberger found Matt Spaeth for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes left in the third. Fourteen seconds later, Allen had his clutch interception.
The Packers roared back with a 22-yard field goal by Mason Crosby before John Kuhn's 1-yard touchdown run with 7:17 left tied the game at 31.
But the Steelers finally finished things off with Bell's touchdown run and the Packers' failed last-ditch throw into the end zone.
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