5 things to know after Steelers beat Packers 38-31
The Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers slogged through sloppy turf
and braved a light, persistent snow in a down-to-the-wire game with
playoff implications for both teams.
In the end, the Steelers held on for a 38-31 win and both squads
got a little help to keep their postseason aspirations alive.
Troy Polamalu forced a fumble to set up Le’Veon Bell’s 1-yard
touchdown run with 1:28 left, then Pittsburgh withstood Green Bay’s
throw into the end zone on the game’s last play. They’re a long
shot, but the Steelers (7-8), after starting 0-4 this season, are
mathematically in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot.
It would be a near-miracle if they can get through another week.
The Steelers need to beat the Browns in Week 17, and have the
Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers – all 8-7 – all lose.
”There’s only one way to respond to the situation that we’re
in,” coach Mike Tomlin said. ”There’s either (win) or fold the
tents up, and we’re not into that.”
The Packers (7-7-1) had a two-game winning streak snapped, but
still have shot at winning the NFC North after the Bears lost 54-11
to the Eagles on Sunday night.
Chicago and Green Bay meet next week at Soldier Field for the
Five things to know after the wild game in the wintry conditions
at Lambeau Field:
BIG PLAY TROY: Long hair flowing out from under of his helmet,
Polamalu lunged through the air as Packers quarterback Matt Flynn
tried to scramble for a first down. Polamalu knocked the ball
loose, the Steelers recovered at the 17 and Bell ran in from 1 yard
out five plays later to give the Steelers the go-ahead score.
Sound familiar? Polamalu came up with his fifth forced fumble of
”I think you always think about trying to do something to
secure the tackle,” he said. ”Fortunately, sometimes it works
and, unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t work and you end up
NOW BATTING: A rarely seen penalty nearly spoiled the Steelers’
Defensive lineman Ziggy Hood was called for illegal batting in
the third quarter when he poked the ball out of bounds after it had
been loose following a blocked field goal.
Officials conferred a few minutes before calling the penalty and
awarding the ball to Green Bay, ruling the Steelers never
controlled it and that it never crossed the line of scrimmage at
the Steelers 5.
Referee Carl Cheffers described batting to a pool reporter as an
intentional act of striking the ball in a loose-ball situation in
the direction of a team’s own goal line.
The Packers got a second chance and Eddie Lacy scored on the
next play to give Green Bay a short-lived lead.
ROOKIE RBS: Bell finished with 26 carries for 124 yards, while
fellow rookie Lacy had 15 carries for 84 yards and two scores but
later left after re-aggravating an ankle injury.
Lacy vowed to return for the Bears game. He set a franchise
rookie record with 1,112 yards rushing on the year.
”Had we won it would feel a little better,” Lacy said.
PICK SIX: The Packers seemed to be picking on Steelers
cornerback Cortez Allen for spurts, and Jarrett Boykin’s 5-yard
touchdown catch in the first quarter came after jumping and leaning
forward around Allen for the grab.
But Allen atoned for any mistakes by intercepting a screen and
running untouched 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Allen finished with six tackles in his third straight start at left
cornerback after replacing William Gay.
MEDICAL REPORT: The injury list got longer for two battered
Besides Lacy, the Packers linebacker Clay Matthews left
following a sack after re-aggravating a right thumb injury that
kept him out of four games earlier this season. Matthews had
surgery on the thumb and he appeared to be in considerable pain on
For the Steelers, rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones was a late
scratch because of the flu, while receiver Emmanuel Sanders had a
1-yard touchdown catch before leaving with a knee injury.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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