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(Sunday, December 20th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 37, Green Bay 36
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Mike Wallace's 19-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the game gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a thrilling 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field.
Ben Roethlisberger had the most passing yards of any quarterback since November of 2006, as he went 29-for-46 with a franchise-best 503 yards and three scores, while Wallace finished the game with two catches, both touchdowns, for the Steelers (7-7), who snapped a five-game losing streak.
Roethlisberger set a Steelers franchise record with his performance, as his 503 yards surpassed Tommy Maddox's 473 yards in a game against Atlanta on November 10, 2002.
In addition, Roethlisberger now has 3,849 passing yards on the season, vaulting him past Terry Bradshaw's 3,724 in 1979 for most in one season by a Steeler.
Hines Ward had seven catches for 126 yards, while Heath Miller had seven catches for 118 yards in the win.
"Not dead yet. The guys hung together, fought, made enough plays to win. We haven't won in a while so it feels good. To keep it in perspective, we've got a little pulse here. Hopefully we can use this as momentum to get ready to play Baltimore next week, which is of course a very warm football team. Good to stay in the fight, good to win one for our fans, we've got the greatest fans in the world. Good to perform for them and get them something to be excited about here at Heinz Field. Today, I'm just as excited about that as I am getting that five-week monkey off our back," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Aaron Rodgers went 26-for-48 with 383 yards and three scores and added a rushing touchdown, and Greg Jennings had five catches for 118 yards and a score for the Packers (9-5), who had a five-game winning streak snapped. James Jones and Jermichael Finley each caught a score in the loss, while Ryan Grant added a rushing touchdown.
The loss allowed Minnesota to clinch the NFC North title, although the Packers are still in position for a wild card spot. They're tied with Dallas with the best mark among the wild card contenders.
Starting with the ball at the Pittsburgh 14-yard line and 2:01 to play, the Steelers got a first down on its first play, as a defensive holding call moved the chains.
Facing a 4th-and-7 later from the 22, Roethlisberger connected with Santonio Holmes for 32 yards to get the ball past midfield. After an offensive holding call, Roethlisberger was picked off, but Green Bay was called for illegal contact for another Pittsburgh first down.
A pair of incompletions and a false start saw the Steelers facing a 3rd- and-15, but Roethlisberger hit Miller for 20 yards for a fresh set of downs.
Another defensive holding call followed by a Miller 15-yard catch got the ball to the Green Bay 19. After consecutive incompletions there was three seconds left on the clock.
Roethlisberger took the snap and fired it to the left side of the end zone, where Wallace made a diving catch and barely kept his feet in with no time left on the clock.
The officials reviewed the play to determine if Wallace kept his feet in, and the call on the field stood; Jeff Reed's extra-point gave Pittsburgh the win.
"Losses are difficult. Losses in December are probably a little more important. This is a game that we had a lot of confidence coming into it. We knew we had to score some points today from the offensive side of it. I don't think we thought it would go that way as far as the aggressiveness and the passing game against our defense. We came up one play short and we'll correct it tomorrow," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said.
Holding a seven-point lead in the third, Pittsburgh made it a 24-14 game on the strength of a 37-yard field goal from Reed with 4:36 left. The drive covered 55 yards over 11 plays and ate up over six minutes of the clock.
Green Bay answered on its ensuing drive to make it a one-score game. The 13- play, 69-yard drive was finished when Finley made a leaping catch in the left side of the end zone from 11 yards out with 13:30 to play.
The Steelers took their following touch 47 yards, but the drive stalled at the Green Bay 16, and a 34-yard field goal from Reed made it a 27-21 game with under 10 minutes remaining.
The Packers responded quickly, as the team needed just four plays to get in the end zone. After a 27-yard catch by Jordy Nelson to get the ball to the Pittsburgh 24, Grant took a handoff down the left side into the end zone for a 28-27 lead with 7:49 left in the game.
On the next drive, facing a 2nd-and-18, Roethlisberger stepped up to avoid the rush and heaved the ball down the left sideline for Ward, who made a leaping 54-yard catch to get the ball to the Green Bay 23. The drive stalled, though, and a 43-yard field goal from Reed gave the Steelers a 30-28 lead with 3:58 left.
Instead of kicking deep and making the Packers drive down the field, the Steelers opted to try an onside kick, but a Pittsburgh player touched the ball before it went 10 yards, and Green Bay started the drive at the Pittsburgh 39.
Green Bay made Pittsburgh pay for the poor decision, as Rodgers needed just six plays to give his team the lead. Facing a 3rd-and-14 at the 24-yard line, Rodgers dumped the ball out to the right side where Jones caught it near the 10 and went into the end zone with 2:06 left. After a successful two-point conversion, it was a 36-30 game.
Pittsburgh took the lead on its first play from scrimmage, as Roethlisberger went deep to Wallace, who came up with the catch for a 60-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
After an exchange of punts, the Packers tied the game on a big play, as Rodgers hit Jennings in stride for an 83-yard score with 9:56 left in the first.
The Steelers responded with a 10-play drive that ate up over six minutes of the clock. Pittsburgh converted two third downs on the drive and capped it when Rashard Mendenhall bulled his way into the end zone from two yards out for a 14-7 advantage with 3:47 left in the first.
Mason Crosby missed a 34-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but the Packers tied the game later in the frame on a 14-yard keep up the middle by Rodgers with 3:04 left in the half.
Pittsburgh, though, took a 21-14 lead into the break when Moore took a short pass into the end zone from 10 yards out with 26 seconds left on the clock. The big plays of the drive were a 27 yard catch by Miller, which was followed by a 33-yard catch from Holmes.
The Steelers host Baltimore next Sunday...Green Bay hosts Seattle next Sunday...The Steelers have won seven of the last nine games against Green Bay and four straight at home...Mendenhall finished the game with 38 yards on 11 carries while Grant had 37 yards on eight carries. Mendenhall also had six catches for 73 yards...Green Bay totaled five sacks in the game...Finley had nine catches for 74 yards in the loss...Ward had his 25th 100-yard receiving game, tying him with Hall of Famer John Stallworth for most in franchise history.
12/21 01:03:51 ET