The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the second half tied 14-14 with the Packers following a first half full of mistakes. With five or six dropped passes and an interception on the offensive side of the ball and two big blown coverages that led to touchdowns on the defensive side, the Steelers have struggled to get out of their own way tonight.
But hey, at least they’re not losing, and they only need to score one more point, no matter how ‘inferior’ the opponent is on paper. Sure, a blowout would be nice, but it doesn’t mean any more than a close win.
Ben Roethlisberger has two touchdown passes, a shovel pass to Xavier Grimble and a deep throw to Martavis Bryant. Antonio Brown also hauled in a two-point conversion as a do-over for Chris Boswell’s missed field goal. Brown has four catches for 74 yards in the first half.
Roethlisberger is 17 of 25 for 165 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, with most of those incompletions being drops. Le’Veon Bell has 42 yards on 10 carries and 27 receiving yards on six receptions.
The opening kickoff was returned to the 25. Brett Hundley handed off to Jamaal Williams on first and second down, first for nine and then for nothing. On third and one, it was Williams again with a one-cut run for four. Off play action, Artie Burns missed an open-field tackle on a pass to Williams for seven. At the 45, Hundley was chased wide and he threw the ball away. On third and three, following a timeout, Hundley found Adams for the long touchdown, Coty Sensabaugh beaten in coverage. That is their third long touchdown allowed of the game, and about the 700th in the past three.
Coming out running, Bell picked up four yards on first down. He added 11 on the next run, his longest of the night. After another four yards, he was stopped up the middle for two, leading to a third and four. On the play, Roethlisberger got the ball to Bryant, making a tough grab for the first.
Again to Bryant on a crosser, he could not make the initial defender miss, resulting in a short gain of three. Bell got to the outside but only for about four. A hold on Maurkice Pouncey negated the run anyway. On second and 17, Roethlisberger’s pass was tipped and batted up in the air, picked off on the deflection for his second interception of the game, near midfield.
Three straight runs yielded a first down into field goal territory. L.T. Walton ended up the near man to ‘sack’ Hundley on the following play under pressure. T.J. Watt broke up a pass to Jordan Nelson in coverage. Now third and 15, Heyward got the sack to make it fourth and 18. The two sacks made the ensuing field-goal attempt 58 yards, which was shanked left.
The miss put the Steelers on their own 47-yard line to start the ensuing possession. On first down, Bell was able to pick up about 12 yards, making a couple of tacklers miss, on a reception in open space. He gained a hard-earned four yards on the following play. Off play action, Roethlisberger scrambled for another first down, his third scramble of the game.
Now at the 29, Roethlisberger settled for a dumpoff to Bell, who made something happen for 15, again inside the red zone, where they have gone two-for-two so far tonight.
Brown made a fantastic grab for 11 on the following play, elevating near the maximum with contact. Roethlisberger’s sharp pass looking for Bryant was incomplete, but drew a pass interference penalty to set up first and goal at the one. The guilty party was Davon House, who signed with the Packers in free agency while in Pittsburgh. A beautiful fade pass to Brown beat Kevin King for the touchdown as Roethlisberger’s third touchdown pass of the night matched Hundley’s third, tying the game again at 21.
Mike Hilton coming in on the blitz made the tackle on Williams for a loss of two on first down. Hundley’s second-down pass was low an incomplete. Quickly on third and 12, on the final play of the third quarter, Heyward picked up his second sack of the game, ninth of the year, to force a three-and-out with the Packers deep in their own territory.
The ensuing punt was fair caught at the 35, but a hold added another 10 to put the Steelers at the 45. Bell found a crease up the middle for 14 yards, having his best rushing game in a while. Perhaps the second-best of the season.
At the 41 now, this time Bell was bottled up from behind, limited to about a yard. On the counter trey, Bell spun out of initial contact, but fumbled at the end of the run, recovered by the Packers. It was the Steelers’ third giveaway of the game, failing to get one back by their defense.
Shazier had a big pass defensed on second down to force third and long. Hundley’s third-down pass was way off-line, resulting in a three-and-out. After Brown fielded the ball at the 21, the Steelers forced rekick from 15 yards back because of a facemask penalty, hoping for better field position. Brown fielded the ball this time at the 32, a surplus of 11 yards.
Roethlisberger was sacked for the first time of the game for a loss of 10 on first down, but Bell on a pass gained 14. On third and six, Eli Rogers stepped up, making a nice catch to keep the drive alive.
From the 47, Bell was tripped up for a loss of three trying to stretch the play wide with no hole. After audibling, Roethlisberger got the ball to Bell on a screen, making a defender miss this time for 12. On third and one, he made one cut for the first down and more, for 11 yards, making up for his fumble on the previous drive with good work so far, getting back down to the 33 now. On the next play, Roethlisberger found Brown down the right sideline for a 33-yard score, Roethlisberger’s fourth of the night, and the second for Brown, his fifth in the past two games. The Steelers regained the lead for the first time since their opening possession. It’s now 28-21 with 8:42 to play.
Following a Double Renegade, Hundley found his tight end, Richard Rodgers, for a big gain on first down. Randall Cobb got another first down on the next play, but a good tackle by Hilton limited the damage.
Quickly at the 40 of the Steelers, Williams was tackled after a gain of one. A quick hitter to Adams moved the chains to the 27. Following a seven-yard screen and two-yard draw, a one-receiver set sent a bubble screen to Nelson. Burns made the tackle, but the receiver was able to stretch for the first.
Now at the 16.5, Stephon Tuitt tackled Willliams for a loss, checking out after the play. With all defenders standing, Hundley looked for Adams down the field with Burns in coverage, incomplete. Burns wanted a flag, but didn’t get it. Now third and 12, a screen to Cobb was able to get seven, making it fourth and five. Down seven with 3:16 remaining, Shazier hobbled off. On the play, following a timeout, Hundley completed to Adams against William Gay.
Now first and goal at the 4.5, Williams dove for the far too easy score on the draw, tying the game at 28. But the Steelers have plenty of time remaining, including all three timeouts, in order to get points on the board to win in regulation.
Opening the drive at the 25, Roethlisberger opened the drive with a quick pass over the middle to Rogers for six as the two-minute warning struck. A short pass to Brown went for 13. A defensive penalty was declined. Now at the 44, after a pump fake, Roethlisberger checked to Bell for 10 and out of bounds.
Across midfield in a hurry, Roethlisberger’s pass was off-line to Bryant, getting only one hand on it behind him, incomplete, the throw coming against a blitz. On second down, Brown could not snag a sharp-angled sideline pass that would have gone for 11. Now third and 10 at the 46, Roethlisberger looked down the field for Rogers, incomplete, tipped by the cornerback. Jordan Berry’s punt only reached the 18-yard line, now Hundley with a chance to win the game with 80 seconds left.
On first down, Shazier back in, was sacked by Watt, coming in late from coverage, his fifth of the year. It looked like he hit Hundley right in the head initially. If so, he’s very lucky. Shazier forced Williams out of bounds off a screen pass. Now with 32 seconds left on third and 13, it was a draw for Williams, stopped, Tomlin using a timeout with 26 seconds left.
Brown fielded the punt at the 30. With 17 seconds, Roethlisberger threw down the field for Brown, the receiver seemingly making an incredible catch keeping his feet inbounds. The play went in for review. It was confirmed, 25 yard to the Packers’ 47.
With 13 seconds left, Roethlisberger again quickly connected with Brown for 14 yards and out of bounds. Now nine seconds left, Roethlisberger checked down to Bell, the back slipping and losing two yards, now making the potential game-winning field goal a 53-yard attempt, which would be a career long for Boswell, and tied for the longest in Heinz Field history.