Steelers hold on for wild 38-31 win over Packers

Remarkably, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the playoff

chase, thanks to a wild win at snowy Lambeau Field.

Le’Veon Bell ran for a 1-yard touchdown 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) are still mathematically

in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot. They need a lot of help.

The loss meant Green Bay (7-7-1) needed Chicago to lose at

Philadelphia on Sunday night to stay in playoff contention.

Bell’s TD came soon after scrambling Packers quarterback Matt

Flynn fumbled while being tackled by safety Troy Polamalu. The

Steelers recovered at the Packers 17 and scored five plays

later.

Micah Hyde’s 70-yard kickoff return to the Steelers 31 gave the

Packers one last chance. Green Bay got to the 1, but after a

Packers penalty the game ended when Flynn’s pass to Jarrett Boykin

sailed incomplete in the end zone.

The Steelers overcame a rarely-seen illegal batting penalty that

negated a blocked field goal, and won after a roller-coaster second

half.

Bell finished with 26 carries for 124 yards. The Packers’ Eddie

Lacy had 15 carries for 84 yards and two scores in a game featuring

two of the league’s top rookie running backs.

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.

It all happened in a wild second half, but those plays were

overshadowed by the illegal batting call.

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 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.

One play later, Lacy barreled into the end zone from 2 yards for

a 21-17 lead.

Instead of sulking, the Steelers answered quickly.

Roethlisberger found Matt Spaeth for an 11-yard touchdown pass

with 2 minutes left in the third. Fourteen seconds later, Allen

made his leaping interception and ran untouched into the end

zone.

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.

Flynn finished 21 of 39 for 232 yards and a touchdown making his

fourth start in place of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has

been out since fracturing his left collarbone on Nov. 4.

Linebacker Clay Matthews also left following a sack apparently

re-aggravating a right thumb injury that kept him out of action for

four games this year. Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders left with

a knee injury. He had a 1-yard touchdown grab in the first

quarter.

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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