Final

Steelers 38

(7-8, 3-5 away)

Packers 31

(7-7-1, 4-3-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:25 PM ET, December 22, 2013

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 7 3 21 738
GB 7 7 7 1031

Top Performers

Passing: M. Flynn (GB) - 232 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: L. Bell (PIT) - 26 CAR, 124 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Brown (PIT) - 6 REC, 105 YDS

Steelers hold on for wild win against Packers

Associated Press
Sunday Blitz: Steelers-Packers Recap
Jim Basquil and Eric Allen break down the Steelers' Week 16 win over the Packers.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After an exhilarating win in the snow, Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu got even better news when he returned to the locker room.

Remarkably, the Steelers are still in the playoff chase.

Polamalu's forced fumble set up Le'Veon Bell's 1-yard touchdown run 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), after starting 0-4 this season, are still mathematically in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot. They need a lot of help.

"It's been a long road for us, but we still have our struggles. We were one play from losing that game," Polamalu said.

It would be a near-miracle if they can get through another week. The Steelers need to beat the Browns in Week 17, and need the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers -- all 8-7 -- to lose.

"It's irrelevant, to be honest. Nothing has changed from our standpoint," Polamalu said. "Our mental approach to the game has got to be a week-by-week thing."

The loss meant Green Bay (7-7-1) needed Chicago to lose at Philadelphia on Sunday night to stay in playoff contention.

"I'm not into drama," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We wanted to control our own destiny, we let that opportunity out of our hands."

The Packers were back in control by night's end. The Bears lost 54-11, turning next week's matchup with Green Bay into a showdown for the NFC North title at Soldier Field.

Bell's TD came soon after scrambling Packers quarterback Matt Flynn fumbled while being tackled by Polamalu. The Steelers recovered at the Packers 17 and scored five plays later, aided in part by an encroachment penalty by the Packers' Nick Perry, on what would have been a field-goal attempt, to extend the drive.

Micah Hyde's 70-yard kickoff return to the Steelers 31 gave the Packers one last chance. Green Bay got to the 1, but Flynn's pass to Jarrett Boykin sailed incomplete in the end zone to end the game.

The last few seconds were marred by a false start penalty that pushed the Packers back to the 6 and included a 10-second runoff down to 10 seconds remaining. The Packers didn't get the snap off until 3 seconds were left, and Flynn said it appeared the umpire was holding up the center but started the clock while backing up.

"I don't know what happened, really," Flynn said. "The operation seemed kind of weird right there," Flynn said.

Just like the rest of the second half.

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 in the third quarter.

But a rarely seen illegal batting call nearly spoiled the Steelers night

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 penalized Hood and 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.

Safety Ryan Clark said he could have picked up the ball, but he was slowed after spraining his ankle in the game and tried to lateral the ball, but it squirted free and eventually got to Hood.

"It's human error in this game," Clark said. "The guy didn't see it, he didn't have the opportunity to know if I had possession, so he made the call that he saw and that's part of football. It's no big deal, we won."

Given another chance, Eddie Lacy barreled into the end zone from 2 yards for a 21-17 lead.

Instead of sulking, the Steelers answered quickly.

Ben Roethlisberger found Matt Spaeth for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes left in the third. Fourteen seconds later, Allen had his clutch interception.

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.

Game notes


Bell finished with 26 carries for 124 yards. ... Lacy had 15 carries for 84 yards and two scores but later left with a sprained ankle. ... Flynn finished 21 of 39 for 232 yards making his fourth start in place of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers (left collarbone). ... Packers LB Clay Matthews left following a sack after re-aggravating a right thumb injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
GB
1st Downs2126
Passing 1st downs
1012
Rushing 1st downs
811
1st downs from penalties
33
3rd down efficiency
2-106-14
4th down efficiency
2-20-0
Total Plays5972
Total Yards343370
Yards per play5.85.1
Total Drives1314
Passing192219
Comp-Att
17-2921-39
Yards per pass
6.45.2
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-53-13
Rushing151151
Rushing Attempts
2930
Yards per rush
5.25.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)4-54-6
Penalties7-589-90
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession26:4033:20

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger16/281676.0211-5
McBriar1/13030.0000-0
GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Flynn21/392325.9113-13

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bell261244.8125
Roethlisberger11313.0113
GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lacy15845.6214
Starks10474.709

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Brown610517.5036
Paulson13030.0030
GBRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jones9849.3021
Boykin55410.8121

Scoring Summary

No Scoring Summary available

Research Notes

Matt Flynn was 5-of-18 when the Steelers sent four or fewer in the second half Sunday after going 11-of-15 in the first half. The Steelers used such pressure on 19 of Flynn's 22 dropbacks in the second half.
  [+]
The Steelers ran plays from an empty set on 11-of-59 snaps Sunday, but picked up three of their four offensive touchdowns from those formations. Ben Roethlisberger was 9-of-10 passing from those sets Sunday.
  [+]
Matt Flynn posted a 6.4 Total QBR in Sunday's loss, his 2nd single-digit Total QBR game in 4 starts with Green Bay. Since he became the Packers starter in Week 13, he has an NFL-low 17.5 Total QBR.
  [+]
Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown run in the third quarter was his first rushing touchdown since Week 16 of the 2010 season.
Cortez Allen returned a Matt Flynn interception 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter Sunday. It's the third pick-six thrown by a Packers quarterback since Aaron Rodgers' injury in Week 9. Aaron Rodgers had only one interception returned for a touchdown in 86 career starts.

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