Steelers end Giants' winning streak at 6 in 24-14 victory
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green (89) crosses the goal line for a touchdown after taking a pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jared Wickerham)
PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the New York Giants' winning streak with a familiar formula.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns, Le'Veon Bell rolled up 182 yards of total offense, and Pittsburgh's resurgent defense harassed Eli Manning into a flurry of mistakes in a dominant 24-14 win on Sunday.
Antonio Brown edged good buddy Odell Beckham Jr. in their personal showdown, catching six passes for 54 yards and an acrobatic scoring grab at the back of the end zone. Tight end Ladarius Green added six receptions for 110 yards, both career highs, and a touchdown as the Steelers (7-5) won their third straight to keep pace with Baltimore atop the AFC North.
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Manning completed just 24 of 39 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns and two picks in the red zone for the Giants (8-4), whose six-game run ended with a thud. Beckham was largely a non-factor despite a game-high 10 receptions for 100 yards.
New York managed just 56 yards rushing and couldn't convert on it few opportunities. Both of Manning's interceptions came near the Pittsburgh goal line and the Giants missed on all three of their fourth-down attempts.
The Steelers have reinvented themselves on the fly following a four-game midseason slide. Rather than try to overwhelm opponents with the firepower they showed during a 4-1 start, Pittsburgh has relied heavily on Bell and the defense to get back in the playoff picture.
Bell touched the ball 35 times – 29 rushes and six receptions – and went over 100 yards rushing for the third straight game by churning for 118. He did so against a defense that hadn't allowed an opponent to reach the century mark since Adrian Peterson in Week 16 of the 2015 season.
Pittsburgh methodically built a 14-0 halftime lead in unorthodox fashion. Points came on a safety for New York holding in the end zone; a pair of field goals by substitute kicker Randy Bullock; and a pretty grab at the back on the end zone by Brown, who leapt high in the air then secured the ball while landing with his right shoulder barely in bounds.
Brown's score was set up by a 58-yard interception return by linebacker Lawrence Timmons, the first of three fruitless trips into the red zone by the Giants.
New York briefly got back into it in the third quarter when Bell fumbled at the Pittsburgh 17 and Manning flipped a short pass to Rashad Jennings for a 13-yard score. Pittsburgh responded immediately.
Green, who signed a lucrative four-year contract in the offseason but missed the first eight weeks while recovering from various health issues, played a pivotal role. His 33-yard reception moved the Steelers to midfield. Six plays later, Roethlisberger found Green streaking down the slot from 20 yards to make it 21-7.
New York's next two possessions ended with Manning throwing a fourth-down pick to end one drive, then ending up underneath Pittsburgh's Ricardo Mathews on fourth down on another.
Giants: Played the second half without defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who left in the second quarter with a groin injury. New York also lost cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to a rib injury.
Steelers: Rookie nose tackle Javon Hargrave left in the first half due to a concussion. Safety Shamarko Thomas, recently recovered from a groin injury, sustained a concussion while covering a kickoff return in the first half.
Giants: host NFC East-leading Dallas next Sunday night. New York beat the Cowboys 20-19 in Week 1. Dallas has not lost since.
Steelers: head north to Buffalo next Sunday.
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