Coming off of a five game losing streak, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin decided to do something about it himself, with a little help from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well. After kicker Jeff Reed kicked a 43 yard field goal to put the Steelers up 30-28 with 3:58 left in the game, Tomlin did the unthinkable. Tomlin approved an onsides kick in attempt to keep the pourous defense off of the field, but Ike Taylor was flagged for an illegal touching of the ball when it did not travel 10 yards before being recovered. The Packers took over at the Steelers 39 yard line and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers carved up the Steelers defense in 6 plays, culminating with a 24 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Jones. A successful 2 point conversion followed and the Packers were up 36-30 with 2:06 left and Mike Tomlin looked like he might have put the final egg on the face of the Steelers season.
Roethlisberger and the offense came to the rescue though. Roethlisberger drove the Steelers on an 11 play drive that included a 4th down conversion, a sack and 2 Steelers penalties to throw a 19 yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace with no time left on the clock. The play was reminiscent to the game winning Super Bowl catch to fellow receiver Santonio Holmes, but only in the opposite side of the endzone. Reed added the extra point and the Steelers won 37-36 and kept their slim playoff hopes alive.
On the day, Roethlisberger threw for a Steelers record 503 yards with 2 touchdowns to Waalace and 1 to running back Mewelde Moore. Roethlisberger also complete 29 of 46 passes to 7 different receivers in the process. Veteran Hines Ward led all pass catchers with 7 catches for 126 yards, but re-injured his hamstring in the process. Ward said after the game that he is very, very sore and his status for the game with Baltimore next week is in doubt right now. Also injured for the Steelers was long snapper Greg Warren. Warren in all likelihood tore his ACL on the final extra point of the game. It is the opposite knee of which he had the same injury last season, that shelved him for the season. Warren will likely be placed on injured reserve on Tuesday and the Steelers will likely bring in some long snappers to compete with rookie center A.Q. Shipley, who is currently on the eight man practice squad.
To no surprise, the Steelers defense again played poorly. The Steelers missed several tackles and the secondary gave up several big plays to the Packers with many coming on key 3rd downs. The defense surrendered 22 fourth quarter points in the process. Leading the way of bad play were cornerback William Gay, strong safety Tyrone Carter and middle linebacker James Farrior. The defense surrendered 383 yards through the air and 60 yards on the ground. Special teams once again showed the flaws of a unit that has no confidence. Tomlin tried several pooch kickoffs on Sunday in an attempt to thwart any big returns.
The win breaks the Steelers 5 game slide and keeps their playoff hopes alive as the Jaguars, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins all suffered well needed loses. The Steelers now host division rival Baltimore next Sunday at home in another must win game. They still need losses by Jaguars and Jets and a loss by either the Broncos or a Ravens loss against the Raiders in week 17 in order to get a Wild Card spot. Judging by the crazy game on Sunday, anything is still possible.