28 Packers – 31 Steelers
Antonio Brown: 10 receptions for 169 yards – 2 Touchdowns
Le’Veon Bell: 12 receptions for 88 yards
Martavis Bryant: 4 receptions for 40 yards – 1 Touchdown
Jesse James: 3 receptions for 32 yards
Eli Rogers: 1 reception for 4 yards
Xavier Grimble: 1 reception for 1 yard – 1 Touchdown
Le’Veon Bell: 20 rushes for 95 yards, Avg: 4.8 yards
Ben Roethlisberger: 3 rushes for 25 yards, Avg: 8.3 yards
Martavis Bryant: 1 rush for 1 yards, Avg: 1.0 yards
Chris Boswell – FGM: 1 for 1, PCT: 100%, XPM – 2 , PTS: 5 *Includes game winning field goal
In a game that could have well been described as a war of attrition, both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, led by quarterback Brett Hundley, gave it everything they had. At the end, it was Steelers kicker Chris Boswell’s field goal which was the deciding factor, as the Steelers prevailed in a hard-fought 31-28 victory Sunday night at Heinz Field. With their 6th straight victory, the Steelers improved their record to 9-2 and stand atop of the AFC alongside their AFC rivals, the New England Patriots.
Reminiscent of their game last week against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers took the early 6-0 lead, with a drive in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed passes to 6 different receivers. On the Packers first offensive possession, Hundley was able to find receiver Randall Cobb for a 39-yard touchdown, giving them a 7-6 lead. Following a Packers interception on a pass intended for Steelers receiver Eli Rogers, on the next offensive possession Packers running back Jamaal Williams took a screen pass and converted it into a 54-yard touchdown, giving the Packers the 14-6 lead. Midway through the second quarter, the Steelers were able to respond with a 65-yard drive, ending with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant.
After the successful two-point conversion, the Steelers were able to tie the game at 14 apiece going into halftime.
The start of the second half for the Steelers was not an ideal one, as the Packers put together a 76-yard drive, culminated by a 55-yard touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams, giving the Packers a 21-14 lead. After a second Roethlisberger interception, the Steelers defense stood tall as defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Leterrius Walton, each collected sacks to end the Packers drive. On the next offensive possession, the Steelers receiver Antonio Brown‘s 1-yard touchdown completed a 53-yard drive, tying the game at 21.
In the fourth quarter, the Steelers offense came big as Roethlisberger completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Brown, giving the Steelers an early 28-21 lead. Late in fourth quarter with 2:02 remaining in the contest, the Packers offense struck again, as Williams’ 4-yard rushing touchdown tied the game at 28. Within a sequence of 2 minutes, both offenses traded opportunities; yet the Steelers defense were able to force a punt with only 27 seconds remaining in the contest. Roethlisberger found his favorite target Brown for 23 yards and 14 yards on the next sequence. With less than 4 seconds remaining in the contest, Boswell sent a 53-yard field goal attempt straight through the uprights, giving the Steelers a dramatic 31-28 victory over the Packers.
The story of this game was the performance of All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. Each of his 10 receptions were more impressive than the last, as the Packers secondary had little to no answers for him all night. His 169 receiving yards further solidifies his place as the top receiver in the NFL. All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell accounted for a combined 183 all purpose yards — 95 rushing and 88 receiving yards. Despite tossing 2 interceptions in the first half, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the plays when it counted and ended the contest with 345 passing yards and 4 touchdowns.
On defense, standouts included defensive captain Cameron Heyward, who collected 6 combined tackles and 2 sacks on the night, giving him a team-leading 9 sacks for the season. Linebacker Ryan Shazier had another active night with a combined 8 tackles and one pass defended. Cornerback Mike Hilton finished the contest with 5 combined tackles, while rookie outside linebacker TJ Watt finished the contest with 4 combined tackles and a sack late in the game.
Every so often, a game comes along that is unusual in nature. This particular game was one of them. Even though the Packers came in to this with a .500 record, one could get the sense right from the opening drive that this was going to be a difficult game even with the touchdown.
For anyone looking to criticize coach Mike Tomlin for making the game closer than it should have been, there are several things to take into consideration. Firstly, this time of the year is generally the most difficult time of year, especially for teams at the top. Green Bay came into the game to get themselves back into the playoff picture and was a team willing to do whatever it took to achieve it. The Steelers were very much equal to the task, with the deciding factor coming down to mistakes, which included several dropped balls and defensive gaffs in the secondary. One of the challenges being at the top, teams become more difficult no matter their record, as teams are scheming extensively to find weaknesses. I can say with confidence that it is going to get harder from this point onward.
Secondly, these are the type of games that define a team. In a closely contested match as we saw tonight, the battle becomes more mental than physical. Despite the array of mistakes, the Steelers stayed as composed as a team could be and responded. The best example of this was in the 3rd quarter, when the Steelers defense surrendered a 55-yard touchdown, but then followed it up with an interception on the next offensive series. What impressed me was how the Steelers defense responded with back-to-back sacks, then the offense responded with a touchdown to tie the game. At no point did this team assume a defeatist mentality. They simply persevered.
The reality is that there may be more games like this to come, but what is encouraging to see is that no matter the obstacle, this team is collectively equal to the task of overcoming and finding ways to win. This is generally what great teams do, and it is a reflection of the leadership of Mike Tomlin.
Steelers Play of the Game:
Antonio Brown shows the entire nation why he is rightfully named ‘Tony Toe Tap’, with yet another highlight to add to his vast collection.