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Pittsburgh Steelers Versus Green Bay Packers – Second Half Recap


By Matthew Marczi

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the second half trailing 14-10, but received the opening kickoff.

On first down, Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for 11 yards. He dumped a pass off to Brown for 6 yards on the next play. Le’Veon Bell picked up about three on second down to set up third and a long one. But it could have been a short one and they wouldn’t have gotten it, as Bell was once again stopped in the backfield.

However, the Steelers broke out a trick play with punter Mat McBriar finding David Paulson down the field, all the way to the 13. Roethlisberger took off and ran it in himself on the next play to put the Steelers up 17-14.

Now trailing, the Green Bay Packers took over from the 20. Matt Flynn’s first pass was over his receiver’s head, but Eddie Lacy gained seven on second down to make it third and manageable. Jarrett Boykin caught the ball right at the line for the first down.

After a four-yard run by James Starks, Flynn’s long pass again went over the head of his intended target, setting up third and six. Stevenson Sylvester had a sack on third down, but offsetting penalties negated the play. On the second third and six play, fullback John Kuhn took a draw nine yards.

Cameron Heyward deflected Flynn’s pass on first down. On second and 10, Flynn ran a bootleg and had to throw the ball away, but a hold on Jason Worilds gave the Packers an automatic first down.

Ziggy Hood was allowed to get into the backfield on first down, forcing Flynn to throw the ball at his receivers’ feet. On second down, Lacy was able to gain about three yards. Flynn once again found Boykin, however, for another frustrating conversion.

The Packers sent Flynn on another bootleg, and this time his pass was out of bounds. William Gay made a good tackle to hold Lacy to two yards on second down. The pass on third down was wide and incomplete.

The punt was downed on the two-yard line. On first down, Bell carried the ball and just barely got out of the end zone. He fumbled the ball—the first time in his career—and it was recovered by Green Bay at the three. Vince Williams fought off a block to make a tackle for a two-yard loss. On second down, Flynn tossed the ball out the back of the end zone after briefly considering running it. On third down, five-wide, Flynn’s pass was nowhere near his receiver.

The Steelers blocked the field goal, courtesy of Steve McLendon. In the skirmish following the block, Ziggy Hood was flagged for illegally batting the ball forward, giving the Packers the ball back, half the distance to the goal. The officially incorrectly ruled that Ryan Clark never had possession of the ball. Lacy ran it in for the go-ahead touchdown on the next play.

Taking over at the 32, Bell burst up the middle, leaping over a defender for 25 yards. After three more yards, an unnecessary roughness penalty gave the Steelers a first down. Jonathan Dwyer picked up seven on the next play. On second and three, Dwyer caught the pas short and fell, but got up before he was touched down and gained seven yards.

From the 11, Roethlisberger found Matt Spaeth on only his second target of the year in the end zone to re-take the lead at 24-21.

The Packers returned the opening kickoff to the 40, but Flynn was run into by the h-back, affecting the throw. Cortez Allen took advantage, picking off the pass to take at 31-21 lead.

The Packers got off another return, but a hold brought it back to the 15. On first down, another hold made it half the distance to the goal. Lacy gained a few yards on first down, but then left the game. An incomplete pass set up third and 14. Yet another forced Green Bay to punt.

However, Roethlisberger hung a pass low on first down, which was intercepted by AJ Hawk. An unnecessary roughness penalty on Spaeth gave the Packers the ball on the 23. A hold on second down made it third and 16 on what would have set up a first and goal on a quarterback scramble.

On the very next play, Flynn found James Jones for a first down for 20 yards. On first and goal, James Starks got down to the six, and to the four on second down. On third and goal, Flynn’s pass was off target to a receiver being boxed out from the far corner of the end zone. The field goal made it a one-possession game at 31-24.

Starting from the 20, Bell was stopped for no gain on first down. On third and four, Roethlisberger’s pass to Brown was too wide to force a punt, giving the Packers the ball on their own 42 to start the drive.

Heyward tackled Starks after a gain of six on first down. On second and four, he wrestled his way for five yards to cross midfield. Flynn found Jordy Nelson running away from Gay across the middle of the field down to the 16. A gain of six by Starks placed the Packers on the 10.

Starks pounded his way for nine yards to set up first and goal from the one. On the next play, Kuhn took the fullback handoff into the end zone to tie the game.

Felix Jones mishandled the kickoff on was tackled on the 11. On first down, he went deep for Brown, but the pass was a bit too deep. On second down, Roethlisberger reversed field to find Brown for a catch and run of 28 yards, in the process breaking the single-season franchise record for receiving yards.

After a four-yard gain and an incomplete pass to Brown, Roethlisberger’s pass on third and six went to Heath Miller, but was shy of the first down. The Steelers went for it on fourth down. Roethlisberger found Will Johnson for the conversion, but a defensive holding would have given them a first down regardless.

Bell gained just four yards on first and second down to set up third and six on Green Bay’s 42. Roethlisberger’s pass hung up short to Bell, which would have converted. Instead, the Steelers had to punt.

The Packers began from the eight with three minutes to play. Brett Keisel brought Flynn down for the sack for a three-yard loss. A good open-field tackle after a screen pass made it third and eight at the two-minute warning. Flynn scrambled on third down, but Troy Polamalu ripped the ball loose and Keisel recovered on the 17.

The Steelers took over with 1:51 to play, but the Packers retained all of their timeouts. They used their first timeout after a two-yard carry by Bell. On second and eight, they went to the air, but Roethlisberger’s pass was too high. Brown was open in the end zone for a touchdown. On third and eight, five-wide, Roethlisberger’s pass to Bell was well short of the first down.

Amazingly, the Packers were drawn offsides on the field goal attempt, giving the Steelers a first down. Bell picked up four yards down to the one as the Packers used their final timeout with 1:25 to play. Bell punched it in for his seventh touchdown of the season to go ahead 38-31.

The Packers returned the kickoff all the way down to the Steelers’ own 31 with 1:14 remaining. On first down, Nelson gained seven yards and got out of bounds. A 19-yard catch and run set up first and goal from the five. Starks got down to the one on first down. A false start added a 10-second run off, making it second and goal from the six with 10 seconds left. With the clock running, Flynn was forced to snap the ball. His pass with Taylor in coverage was incomplete. The Steelers won, 38-31, and remained alive heading into the final week of the season.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • DrakePirate

    Great Win … No thanks to Tomlin …. is he really that stupid when it comes to strategy ???? I mean seriously, I couldn’t believe my eyes … when they ran it in for a TD … 2 kneel downs and a chip shot FG and u win the game … no time left on the clock .. WTF … how does he not comprehend that … instead he chooses the nail biter option instead …

    He is horrible with time management (1st half … once again) and situational analysis … can we PLEEEEEEASE hire somebody to take care of clock management decisions already … geeeeesh !!! otherwise great game and believe it or not we are better than 10/1 odds to make it now … still long ways to go, but given that at the start of the day it was more like 100-1, not too shabby !!

    Bell … congrats u got ur 1st 100yd game !!

  • Elijah Stevenson

    This was a great team victory this proves that we can be a playoff contender team because we still have all the experience. Congratulations to bell for making his first 100 yd rushing. Our special teams defensively in kickoff returns was terrible, were up late un the game and you admire GB to go all the way down field when we have the momentum. The special teams need to b discipline or something.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I think this win defines us as a team

  • steeltown

    Good hard fought win

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I still don’t think I’ve exhaled yet

  • HopalongCassidy

    What a wild second half. That blocked field goal play is going to get a lot of discussion. The Steelers got hosed on that one. I always love these deals where the refs. flat-out blow the call and you can’t challenge it. Makes absolutely no sense and may have cost the Steelers the game. This kind of stuff needs to be addressed by the league. Monday morning apologies simply won’t do.

  • chris ward

    What an unreal game. Kickoff coverage and defense almost gave it away. Good win for the Steelers.

  • JT

    You can’t burn down Tomlin’s house about the final drive without giving him credit for the fake punt, going for it on the 4th down, and other ways he kept the season alive. If the ST doesn’t implode, it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t perfect, but he’s no Jim Schwartz.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Bad Strategy? Maybe but the special teams especially the Kickoff coverage…horrendous. Good teams would do the same things…I would have killed the clock personally though i’m glad it worked out for us

  • Douglas Andrews

    Exactly great point!

  • WilliamSekinger

    Teams should be allowed to fine the league when calls are blown that can potentially cost the club the game.

  • Rick M

    He’s the worst coach in the league in understanding clock management, and it probably isn’t close. He’s exceptionally lucky that GB did not tie the game up.

    Kudos to the players for their heart.

  • HopalongCassidy

    How so ? They just barely beat a .500 team without their starting QB. Don’t get me wrong. It was a good win and a very exciting game but I don’t think you can read much more into it at this time.

  • Rick M

    Yes, he absolutely deserves credit for those calls.

  • WilliamSekinger

    He is terrible in time management, but the end of the game was not the issue. It was the end of the half when they allowed 10 seconds to tick off the clock when they could have called a time out and had 2 attempts at the end zone instead of 1. The end of the game was the correct decision by Tomlin. When faced with burning clock or taking points, always take the points.

  • JT

    So Thanksgiving -7 points allowed…today +7 points allowed= zero. No?

  • Jim Criswell

    Absolutely right about Tomlin and the last Pittsburgh series. It was so obvious and we got lucky at the end of the game.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Actually I believe it was because of Tomlin that we won, He decided to go for the 4th down, the fake punt. Also if we would have caught that ball at the end of the first half we would have needed the timeout. And no matter what Green bay would have had time left on the clack at the end of the game because they had timeouts left, now if we only had three we might be in overtime right now. I think Tomlin did a fine job tonight

  • Rick M

    Isn’t it amazing how the Tomlin lovers always come to his defence even when he makes terrible clock management decisions?

    I’m not advocating his firing at all and i give him credit for some gutsy calls during the game, but giving the ball back to the Packers with 1:25 left (and not kneeling down to run all the time off the clock and kick the chip shot field goal) was just plain dumb. it would be refreshing – for once – if even the Tomlin lovers could admit it. But it won’t happen.

  • DrakePirate

    No maybe about it … regardless of the kickoff … u left them with nearly a 1.30 and a timeout to go down the field … and as seen over the last couple weeks … games in the snow, all it takes is one slip and a guy can go the distance … any coach worth a damn would have ran the clock out …. I GUARANTEE Belichik would have done it !

  • DrakePirate

    Sorry to offend you, but you are clueless if you think he made the right call at the end of the game … what part of kicking a 20yd FG with no time on the clock to win the game do u not understand ?? it was the worst call i have seen in YEARS !!!

  • WilliamSekinger

    To counter, I would say the exact same thing. 1 slip on the line and there is a block or god forbid something happens and the snap is mishandled. Now you are looking at a tie game with no time left.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I would have run down the clock but you could argue for taking the 7 points. If we make a tackle on ST’s I doubt anyone would second guess it.

  • HopalongCassidy

    If I were Art Rooney, I’d be asking Goodell for 100K and a draft choice to be named later for that blown call…. he he he !

  • Douglas Andrews

    Good point! I would have run out the clock and tried for the FG but the other side of the coin is when you have a chance to score 7 you go for the TD. If we made a tackle say around the 30 yard line on ST’s I like our chances still

  • DrakePirate

    please … stop with the garbage talk … I didn’t like the fake FG call either at the yd line we were at, but i give him credit for taking the shot and will assume he did his due diligence … but please don’t be a homer and say we won because of his time management skills !

  • WilliamSekinger

    Maybe you missed the game where our kicker blew a very make able field goal. You are the clueless one if you believe anything is a given with this team. Tomlin made the right decision by taking the TD. You act like they would have lost if GB had scored. They could only tie at that point.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Haha glad you got where I was going with that :)

  • DrakePirate

    WTF are u talking about … u kneel down … there has been 1000′s of kneel downs and i can count on one hand how many fumbles there has been in the last 40 years !!!

    All I can say, i’m glad none of you guys are coaches … !!

  • DrakePirate

    Go take a shower and clear your head … just exactly how many 20 yd FGs has he missed EVERRRRR ??? ya exactly ! Just like in Vegas, u play the odds and the odds favor the FG !

  • Douglas Andrews

    He’s talking about the FG attempt not the kneel down. There could be a block or a missed block on the line or a bobbled snap so why not take the TD to put the game away.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I’m not saying we won because of his clock management, but you killing the guy when he didn’t t=do that bad of a job i thought it was decent. I was saying we won because of his decision making

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I will be expecting several GIFs from this week

  • DrakePirate

    Im harping on it, because it is a weekly occurrence …. i actually think Tomlin is a decent head coach, just terrible at time management and situational analysis …

    here is an example … he was pissed he called that 2nd timeout in the 2nd half … I actually thought that was a good time out, because it was a 3rd down and if we get the 1st down we effectively win the game !!! so it was worth it, besides at that point we really didn’t need the timeouts, because if GB came back and scored there really wouldn’t have been any time left to have any use for them … so my point is he just doesn’t get it … and i don’t think he ever will !

  • Don

    Why don’t you calm the hell down? I’ve never seen someone so angry that his team won. As far as the end of the game strategy, I think it’s clear that it’s not a black and white issue. There’s risks either way. And if you think a 20 yard FG IN THE SNOW ON A CRAPPY FIELD has no risk, then I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not saying that that I disagree with killing the clock to try the FG, but it’s simply a matter of which risks you want to take. In the meantime don’t get so upset about it. Chill out and think about the next win you can complain about.

  • Ike Evans

    I drive trucks…..I listen to talk radio and literally every fan base complains how bad their coach is with clock management…even in Boston lol chill..I don’t really care if Tomlin gets fired or not honestly but I have different reasoning then clock management ….that argument could be made and is made for nearly every coach in the league in every game….

  • Jim Criswell

    I actually like Tomlin as a coach so am not a hater at all. I also think he called most of the game pretty well. With that said, not running the time off at the end was kind of stupid. Nobody had any trouble kicking either field goals or extra points earlier in the game and there was no reason to think things had changed. It was the smart thing to do and the fact that the team held on by their fingertips to win doesn’t make his decision smart.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    The only time in my life I remember a game winning chip shot FG or extra point going badly is Tony Romo’s dropped snap…and he’s the ultimate loser. Still, no real chance of losing. how many folks were thinking GB would punch it in from the one and go for two?

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Going for it on fourth? This is why most coaches don’t do it. It’s risk vs. reward. The reward was that the Steelers, who made it on fourth, punted a few plays later.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    3 fourth quarter drives with a one score game or less.

    - 3 and out,
    - 28 yard completion, then 3 and out…no wait, 4th down conversion, then 3 and out
    - get ball at 17, 3 and out, FG attempt…no wait, off sides, so let’s score instead of kneel down.

    This offense fails again and again in pressure situations.

  • DrakePirate

    True its not black and white, but the FG was easily the better choice … i mean if u think the FG was a risk i could easily argue that running the ball period was a far bigger risk ( i.e. Bettis vs Indy playoff fumble … )

    not displeased at all that they won, just tired of people not wanting to admit that Tomlin is lousy when it comes to analysing anything when math is involved …. add a time-keeper/QC/Strategist coach or whatever u want to call it and be done with it !

    Until then, sorry to say it drives me crazy when i see people especially so called professionals making the same mistake over and over and over …when it is a easy fix !

  • Don

    I see where you’re coming from. And in normal conditions I would agree 100%. But crazy stuff can happen in snow and mud. Especially with your FG unit on the field. I think that the worst case scenario with taking the TD is that you go to OT. If you set up for the FG, a block or bad snap can go to the house the other way.

    In the end, I think we’re arguing about small probabilities either way. But this has been a trying year as a fan, and I can understand your frustration. Sorry if I came across as a bit of a prick.

  • DrakePirate

    no worries … big picture, we all rooting for same thing !

  • ND_Steel

    Hopalong, I think that’s the point. We just barely beat a .500 team, with a backup QB (we’ve lost to worse starting QBs…Locker, Pryor, Cassel), sleepwalking thru the first half, poor clock management at the end of each half, porous poor tackling defense, and throw in a dropped Ike int for good measure…

  • ND_Steel

    Instead of bitching about the question of TD vs. FG (I lean towards to FG, but don’t think it was heinous as DrakePirate), let’s give props to McBriar, the Special Teams and the coaching staff for the hard count on the FG, drawing them off sides to set it all up. Great call and great execution!

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Thanks for summarizing our season

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I agree with you, we’ve lost to pretty sorry teams, had OL issues earlier in season, and offense playing for real to late in the game but I was impressed how our team still has the experience to b a playoff contender. I think if Ben comes out firing the ball we can easily compete with Denver and New England

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