GAME BALL goes to: Le'Veon Bell
The rookie running back not only had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, he also upstaged Green Bay's Eddie Lacy in a battle of top rookie running backs. Bell had 71 of his 124 yards in the first half and scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 1:25 remaining. Bell had a 22-yard run to set up the first touchdown and a 25-yard run to set up the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. "He is getting better every week," coach Mike Tomlin said. "I think that is evident to anyone who watches him."
THE COUNTDOWN: A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. FAKE PUNT: Punter Mat McBriar made the defining play in a game that had many bizarre moments when he threw a 30-yard pass to backup TE David Paulson on fourth-and-2 from his 44. Paulson wasn't even the first option on the play -- safety Robert Golden was -- but McBriar rolled to his right and spotted Paulson on the right sideline. One play later, QB Ben Roethlisberger scrambled 13 yards for a touchdown and a 17-14 lead. "There was a time I was thinking maybe they could be nuts [for calling that play]," McBriar said.
2. BIG BLOCK ... OR NOT: Steve McLendon's block of a 23-yard field goal worked against the Steelers when the officials awarded the Packers possession because DE Ziggy Hood batted a loose ball out of bounds. One play later, Lacy scored on a 2-yard run to give the Packers a 21-17 lead.
3. BIG MISTAKE: On fourth-and-3 with 1:35 remaining, K Shaun Suisham was going to attempt a go-ahead 28-yard field goal when Green Bay LB Nick Perry jumped offside, giving the Steelers a first down at the Green Bay 5. Two plays later, Bell scored on a 1-yard run.
4 TROY'S STRIP: Trying to scramble on third down, Packers QB Matt Flynn had the ball stripped by S Troy Polamalu, and Keisel recovered at the Packers 17 with 1:51 remaining. That set up the winning touchdown by Bell.
5. BAD DECISION: Leading, 31-21, after scoring two TDs in 18 seconds, the Steelers disdained the run on their next possession and Roethlisberger was intercepted by LB A.J. Hawk on first down, leading to a field goal that started Green Bay's comeback.
"It was awesome. It was a game to remember. It'll be a game I can tell my kids about and be happy about. Playing against this team in this place, it's really a good feeling."
-- Brett Keisel, Steelers DE
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
22 That was the number of consecutive games in which the Steelers did not have a 100-yard rusher, a drought that ended when Le'Veon Bell rushed for 124 yards on 26 carries. The streak was the longest in the league and longest by the franchise in 43 years.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
With 1:28 remaining and second down at the Green Bay 1, the Steelers elected to score a touchdown rather than have Roethlisberger take a knee for two plays and let Shaun Suisham kick the go-ahead field goal. The Packers had no timeouts left, so the Steelers could have run the clock down to 8 seconds. As it turns out, the touchdown prevented the Packers from tying the score with a field goal after cornerback Micah Hyde returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards. "I'm not into that," Mike Tomlin said. "Given an opportunity to score, we are going to score."
X's AND O's
Whether they were angry or just determined, the Steelers responded to what Tomlin thought was an incorrect call by the officials on a blocked field goal to score 14 points just 18 seconds apart and take a 31-21 lead in the third quarter. The first touchdown came on an 11-yard pass to tight end Matt Spaeth, his only catch of the game. On the Packers' first play on the ensuing series, cornerback Cortez Allen intercepted a Matt Flynn pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. "You have to give our whole team credit for continuing to fight and continuing to believe," said defensive end Brett Keisel.
VS. CLEVELAND BROWNS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers won the first meeting in Cleveland, 27-11, and have won 25 of the 30 meetings since the Browns came back into the league in 1999.