The Pittsburgh Steelers were a rested group, coming off a Thursday night victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 11. The Green Bay Packers were coming off a drubbing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens where their offense was shut out at home.
Quite the contrast, but in Week 12, as these two storied franchises squared off against one another, it would be a prime time affair under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football. Would the Steelers leave victorious, moving their record to 9-2 on the year and keep pace with the New England Patriots? Or would the Green Bay Packers move above .500 with a much-needed win to stay relevant in the NFC Playoff Picture?
Either way, when the smoke cleared from the pre-game festivities, it was the Packers who won the coin toss, and elected to defer the opening possession to the home team. After a 38-yard kickoff return by Martavis Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger completed passes to six different receivers en route to an opening drive touchdown to Xavier Grimble in a 4th-and-1 situation. However, Chris Boswell missed the point-after, making the score 6-0 early in the first quarter.
After two key penalties, one after the kickoff, and one on a third down which would have been a Stephon Tuitt sack, Brett Hundley connected with Randall Cobb for a 39-yard touchdown, and just like that, the Packers led 7-6 with 5-minutes left in the first quarter.
Roethlisberger, despite having multiple passes dropped throughout the quarter, drove the offense into Green Bay territory, but was intercepted by Damarius Randall to give the Packers great field position to start their second drive. On the next series, facing a 3rd-and-9, Hundley threw a screen pass which went 54-yards for the team’s second touchdown of the quarter. The Mason Crosby point-after made the score 14-6.
After an exchange of punts, the Steelers took advantage of their next drive with a huge third down completion to Antonio Brown to set up the offense in the red-zone. From there it was a beautiful pass to Martavis Bryant to give Pittsburgh the touchdown. With the score 14-12, Pittsburgh went for the two-point conversion, and completed it to Brown to tie the score 14-14.
The Packers started the second half with the football, and it was more of the same for the Pittsburgh defense. Hundley hit Davonte Adams, who beat Coty Sensabaugh on a double move, for a 55-yard touchdown reception, and gave the Packers a 21-14 lead after the Crosby point-after.
Roethlisberger had another pass tipped, which was his second interception on the night, but after Mike McCarthy elected to go for a 57-yard field goal and failed, it set up Pittsburgh with tremendous field position. It didn’t take Roethlisberger long to move the ball into the red-zone and it was a beautiful pass from Roethlisberger to Brown to tie the game at 21-21.
With all the momentum on their side after a three-and-out, Pittsburgh took over possession to start the fourth quarter with tremendous field position, but another turnover, this time a Le’Veon Bell fumble, gave the Packers the football and new life.
After another three-and-out, Le’Veon Bell put the team on his shoulders, both in the running and passing game, and moved the Pittsburgh offense into Green Bay territory. Once there, all it took was another strike from Roethlisberger to Brown to give the Steelers a 28-21 lead.
To answer the Pittsburgh drive, Brett Hundley marched Green Bay down the field, converting on multiple third and fourth downs, and watch the 77-yard drive capped off with a rushing touchdown by Williams to tie the game 28-28 with 2-minutes left in the game.
Neither the Steelers or Packers could capitalize on their following possessions, but Pittsburgh had the last possession of the game and Roethlisberger connected with Brown for two huge completions to put Pittsburgh in Green Bay territory with 15-seconds left. It set up a 53-yard field goal attempt by Chris Boswell which sailed through the uprights, giving Steelers the win.
The Steelers win moves their record to 9-2 on the season, as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 on Monday Night Football.