Packers Come Up Just Short in 31-28 Loss to Steelers

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Pittsburgh, PANovember 27, 2017 – What a difference a week can make. In last week’s 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens the Green Bay Packers offense looked completely lost, unable to score a point at home against a below average Ravens team while turning the ball over 5 times. On Sunday night, in a primetime game against the 8-2 Pittsburgh Steelers the Packers offense looked like the Greatest Show on Turf. But even with a great offensive performance, the Packers were not able to slow down Pittsburgh, losing on a field goal as time expired, 31-28.

Many people’s expectations coming into this game were that the Packers were going to get blown off the field. Early on, it appeared as if that was going to be the case. Pittsburgh moved the ball at will against an under-manned Green Bay defense, scoring on 4th and goal on a shovel pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Xavier Grimble. Steelers’ kicker Chris Bosworth missed the extra point, and Pittsburgh held a 6-0 lead.

Brett Hundley had struggled in his time as the Green Bay starting quarterback, but on this night, he seemed like a different Brett Hundley. He lead a answering touchdown drive when he found Randall Cobb wide open down the sideline for a 39 yard touchdown, and a Mason Crosby extra point gave the Packers a 7-6 lead. The Packers defense then came up big on the ensuing possession, intercepting Roethlisberger and giving the ball back to their offense. It took just 3 plays for the Packers to capitalize. Hundley hit rookie running back Jamaal Williams and Williams found some space as he scampered 54 yards for the score. Just like that, the Packers were up 14-6 and thinking upset.

After possessions for both teams ended in punts, the Steelers got the ball back and found the success moving the ball they had on their first drive.  Facing 2nd and 6 from the Green Bay 17, Roethlisberger found Martavias Bryant in the corner of the end zone for the score. The Steelers opted to go for 2 to tie the game, and they converted when Antonio Brown came free in the end zone and Roethlisberger found him. The score knotted things up at 14, and that’s where the two teams found themselves at halftime.

The Packers could not have asked for a better start to the second half.  They got the ball to begin the half and on the 6th play from scrimmage, on 3rd and 3 at their own 45, Hundley found a streaking Davante Adams who made a couple of nice moves and found himself in the end zone 55 yards later to give the Packers a 21-14 lead.  On the ensuing possession, a Roethlisberger pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and Blake Martinez came down with it for the Packers’ second forced interception of the day. The Pack were in business.

The entire momentum of the game changed on the ensuing Packers possession. After getting a new set of downs at the Pittsburgh 31, Hundley was sacked on first down for a loss of 5 yards, threw an incompletion on 2nd down, and sacked again for 3 yards on 3rd down. The Packers went from the Steelers 31 to the Steelers 39. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy then made an interesting decision. Instead of punting up 7 and playing the field position battle, he sent out kicker Mason Crosby to attempt a 57 yard field goal on a cold Pittsburgh night. Crosby missed the kick badly and the Steelers took over on their own 39.

The Steelers took advantage of the good field position and moved the ball down to the Green Bay 1-yard line. The Packer’s matched up rookie corner back Kevin King 1-on-1 with arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Antonio Brown. Brown beat King easily and Roethlisberger threw a perfect ball to the corner of the end zone right into the hands of Brown and just like that the game was tied again.

A Green Bay punt then gave the Steelers the ball back, but as the Steelers were moving down the field the Packers forced a fumble from Le’Veon Bell and again had new life. The Packers could not muster up anything positive offensively after the turnover and were forced to punt it back to Pittsburgh. This time the Steelers did not hand Green Bay any gifts and found the end zone 6 plays later. Again it was Antonio Brown on a 33 yard pass from Roethlisberger.

One could have expected the stagnant Packers offense to stall and the game be over, but Hundley did not let that happen. Hundley completed 7 of his 8 passes as he moved the ball down the field. Jamaal Williams capped off the game-tying touchdown drive as he found the end zone from 4 yards out with 2:02 remaining in the game.

One could have expected overtime after the Steelers and Packers both had drives that ended in punts, but the Steelers were not out of life. Getting the ball back at their own 30 yard line with 17 seconds left, Roethlisberger turned to Brown. Roethlisberger threw a ball between two Packers defenders on the sideline to Antonio Brown where he made one of the most unbelievable catches you will ever see. His right foot leaving a half of an inch between the field of play and the boundary and dragging his left foot, all while maintaining possession, to get the Steelers into Green Bay territory. After another 14 yard completion to Brown, and a completion that lost yards to Bell, the Steelers had the ball with 4 seconds left at the Green Bay 35. In came Chris Bosworth, who missed an extra point earlier in the game, onto the field for a game winning field goal attempt from 53 yards out. Bosworth nailed the kick as time expired, and the Steelers escaped with a 31-28 victory.

The loss drops the Packers to 5-6 on the season. They now head back home for a date with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, December 3rd at 1:00 pm.  You can catch all the action on the air on your Marquette County Green Bay Packers affiliate 98.3 WRUP.

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