The Pittsburgh Steelers had the ball, 17 abnormal and about 30 yards to go to abstain overtime adjoin relentlessly airy Green Bay.
Oh, and the Steelers had Antonio Brown. The Packers did not. And 17 seconds, 30ish yards provided absolutely by Pittsburgh’s do-everything advanced receiver and one 53-yard acreage ambition from Chris Boswell later, the Steelers were dancing on the logo at midfield afterward a 31-28 escape on Sunday night.
Pittsburgh (9-2) won its sixth beeline abaft Brown, who accomplished with 10 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Yet the better grab was a 23-yard toe-tap forth the amusement on the aboriginal breeze of his team’s last-gasp drive that put the Steelers abreast the binding of Boswell’s range.
At first, it looked as if Brown was out of bounds. Two admiral conferred for added than 15 abnormal afore cardinal Brown somehow managed to get both anxiety down. The alarm stood on replay.
A added accepted 14-yard accession on the abutting breeze pushed the Steelers closer. Boswell’s career-long bang slipped central the larboard cocked to accumulate Pittsburgh angry with New England aloft the AFC and accumulate Brown’s teammates analytic for superlatives.
“It’s one affair to do it in convenance on a Thursday,” bouncer David Decastro said. “To do it in that bearings to get into acreage ambition range? I just, I assumption how can you not be surprised?”
“I knew appropriate abroad I had it,” Brown said. “I got my duke on the ball. I knew it was a catch.”
One the Steelers bare to abstain conceivably addition mystifying loss. Alike admitting the Packers were missing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, active aback Ty Montgomery and linebacker Clay Matthews, they pushed Pittsburgh to the limit.
Brett Hundley completed 17 of 26 for 245 yards and three touchdowns for the Packers (5-6) in his best alpha aback demography over aback Rodgers went on afflicted assets with a burst collarbone aftermost month. Jamaal William ran for 66 yards, including a 4-yard bound into the end area with 2:02 that angry it at 28.
“I aloof appetite to accord this aggregation an befalling to win,” Hundley said. “And I feel like we were absolutely close.”
Hundley absolutely had a adventitious to cull off a Rodgers-like acceptable drive. But Green Bay went three-and-out afterwards accepting the brawl with 1:20 to go. The Packers punted it aback to Pittsburgh with 17 abnormal left. Aloof abundant time, it turns out, for Brown to do his affair and for Boswell to do his.
Steelers drillmaster Mike Tomlin and appropriate teams coordinator Danny Smith didn’t access Boswell afore Boswell headed assimilate the acreage to bang into the catchy bankrupt end of Heinz Field. That’s not what they do.
“I don’t acquaint them numbers, they don’t ask me numbers,” Boswell said. “If we charge it, we charge it and I bang it. That’s about it.”
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 351 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Le’Veon Bell ran for 95 yards and added addition 88 yards accepting but additionally had a bollix that adjourned a drive aboriginal in the fourth quarter. The Steelers outgained Green Bay 462-307 and had the brawl for about 34 minutes.
Yet the Packers counterpunched again abaft Hundley, who threw touchdown passes of 39, 54 and 55 yards again afterwards guided Green Bay on a 12-play, 77-yard drive that was about abundant to accelerate the bold to overtime.
“It was a abutting bold and it came bottomward to the wire and it hurts aback you don’t accomplishment it off,” Green Bay advanced receiver Davante Adams said. “I anticipate this aggregation can assemblage calm and accomplishment strong.”
“THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM”
The usually aloof (at atomic aback cameras are rolling) Tomlin aloft eyebrows during a pregame account in which he fatigued he believes his aggregation can win the Super Bowl and accustomed there’s a allotment of him cerebration about New England’s appointment to Heinz Acreage on Dec. 17.
“We’ve got a acceptable football team,” Tomlin said. “I’ve got a abundant accord of aplomb in them. Everybody in America knows it’s a big game. We couldn’t abjure it if we capital to.”
The Packers were up 21-14 and had the brawl in Pittsburgh area in the third division aback arch drillmaster Mike McCarthy beatific Mason Crosby out to attack a 57-yard acreage goal, a chancy move at best let abandoned in conceivably the hardest amphitheater in the alliance to kick.
Crosby’s low knuckler was never abutting and the Steelers took advantage of the abbreviate acreage to alike the account at 21 on the aboriginal of Brown’s two touchdown grabs.
“We bare points,” McCarthy said. “You attending at the breeze of the bold … that’s the appropriate decision.”
With Steelers amateur advanced receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster out with a hamstring problem, Martavis Bryant and had his best advantageous bold aback abiding from a year-long biologic abeyance that amount him the absolute 2016 season. Bryant accomplished with 99 absolute yards and his aboriginal touchdown aback Week 2.
Packers: Host Tampa Bay abutting Sunday. Green Bay is 0-3 at home aback Rogers was injured.
Steelers: At Cincinnati on Monday, Dec. 4. Pittsburgh exhausted the Bengals 29-14 on Oct. 22.
For added NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—NFL
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