Steelers edge Packers in thriller
Green Bay, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Le'Veon Bell scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:25 remaining and the Pittsburgh Steelers survived a last-second throw into the end zone to beat the Green Bay Packers 38-31 in wild game Sunday at snowy Lambeau Field.
Bell's 1-yard run came after safety Troy Polamalu forced a fumble from Packers quarterback Matt Flynn, and before Micah Hyde's 70-yard kickoff return gave Green Bay, which was out timeouts, a chance to tie it at the end.
Flynn completed passes of seven yards to Jordy Nelson and 19 yards to Andrew Quarless before James Starks' 4-yard run took the Packers to the 1-yard line. But lineman Don Barclay was called for a false start, pushing them back five yards and running 10 seconds off the clock.
Flynn's pass on the final play went off Jarrett Boykin's fingertips.
"It was disappointing and frustrating not to be able to finish it off and get beat like that," Flynn said.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and also ran for a score for the Steelers (7-8), who won for the fifth time in seven games to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Bell rushed for 124 yards but had a fumble that led to a Green Bay touchdown after a bizarre series of events that included a blocked Packers field goal attempt, an illegal batted ball and a forbidden challenge by the Steelers.
Antonio Brown had six catches for 105 yards in the win and Cortez Allen scored on a 40-yard interception return.
Flynn threw for 232 yards with a touchdown pass to Boykin and Eddie Lacy had 15 carries for 84 yards and two Green Bay scores before leaving the game.
The Packers (7-7-1) played without Aaron Rodgers for a seventh straight game, though the quarterback has been practicing as he makes his way back from a fractured collarbone. They had a two-game winning streak snapped, but are still in contention for the NFC North title. A win next week at Chicago will secure the division crown.
Lacy's 2-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left in the third quarter gave Green Bay a 21-17 lead, but the Steelers responded with 14 quick points to move back in front.
Matt Spaeth's 11-yard touchdown at the other end was his first catch of the season and Allen's pick-six pushed the Pittsburgh lead to 31-21 with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
Quarless ran into Flynn on the play, and Flynn's pass floated toward the right sideline where Allen caught it easily and sprinted untouched for the score.
A.J. Hawk intercepted Roethlisberger on the last play of the third quarter, leading to Mason Crosby's 22-yard field goal to get the Packers within 31-24.
They tied the score at 31-31 with 7:14 remaining when John Kuhn put his head down on a 1-yard run to cap a scoring drive keyed by Flynn's 31-yard pass to Nelson.
Later, Polamalu chased Flynn down near the left sideline and wrapped him up. Flynn lost control before he hit the ground and defensive end Brett Keisel recovered at the Green Bay 17.
The Steelers lined up for a field goal on 4th-and-3 but got a first down when Green Bay's Nick Perry jumped offside. The Packers didn't have a timeout left and Bell scored easily from the 1-yard line with 1:25 remaining.
Earlier, a fake punt set up Roethlisberger's 13-yard touchdown run for a 17-14 lead in the third quarter. Punter Mat McBriar hit David Paulson with a pass on what turned out to be a 30-yard play after the Steelers tight end leapt over a Green Bay defender near the right sideline.
The Packers punted after that, but Bell fumbled on Pittsburgh's first play from its own 2-yard line after Jamari Lattimore wrapped him up and Perry hit him from the front.
The play was ruled a fumble upon review after Green Bay challenged he wasn't down.
Pittsburgh's Steve McLendon blocked Crosby's 23-yard field goal attempt and teammate Ziggy Hood ended up batting the loose ball out of bounds on the right sideline.
Green Bay was awarded a first down for the illegal bat because, it was ruled, there was no change of possession on the play. Replays showed Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark picked the ball up and tried to lateral it to a teammate.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin threw his red flag but was told he wasn't able to challenge the call, leading to Lacy's touchdown.
"They screwed it up, in my opinion, but I'll wait to hear judgment from those that evaluate performances and so forth," Tomlin said. "We got penalized on the play for batting, but I thought we had possession prior to the batting so it would have been our possession. We should have maintained possession of the ball, but obviously it didn't unfold in that way."
In the first quarter, Boykin caught Flynn's 5-yard touchdown pass with 4:02 remaining despite being covered closely by Allen but the Steelers tied it at 7-7 on Emmanuel Sanders' sliding 1-yard touchdown catch with a second left in the frame.
Lacy started right, then cut back to the left and logrolled into the end zone after he was hit in the air by Ike Taylor on his 14-yard touchdown run inside the two-minute warning.
The Steelers marched back down the field and Shaun Suisham's 31-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half got them within 14-10 at the break.
The Steelers end the regular season at home against Cleveland next week ... The Packers are at Chicago next week to finish the regular season.
12/23 01:16:08 ET