Final

Packers 36

(9-5, 4-3 away)

Steelers 37

(7-7, 5-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, December 20, 2009

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
GB 7 7 0 2236
PIT 14 7 3 1337

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 503 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 11 CAR, 38 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: H. Ward (PIT) - 7 REC, 126 YDS

Roethlisberger's TD pass on final play puts end to Steelers' 5-game skid

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger throws to the corner of the end zone, the receiver barely gets his feet down inbounds for a remarkable touchdown. Ten months after winning the Super Bowl with just such an improbable play, the Pittsburgh Steelers possibly saved their season with a nearly identical one.

Seifert: Packers Fail Test

The Packers are pretty much a lock for the playoffs, but that doesn't mean they're ready for them, writes Kevin Seifert. Blog

Roethlisberger ended the game the way he started it by throwing a touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, a desperation 19-yarder on the final play that rallied Pittsburgh to a 37-36 victory over Green Bay on Sunday that ended the Packers' five-game winning streak and the Steelers' five-game losing streak.

"The way the game ended was incredible, especially that last play," center Justin Hartwig said, comparing the play to Roethlisberger's 6-yard pass to Santonio Holmes that beat Arizona for the NFL title last season. "It was obviously pretty reminiscent of the Super Bowl."

The Packers (9-5) stalled in their playoff run as they couldn't hold leads of 28-27 and 36-30 in a frantic fourth quarter that was much like Oakland's 27-23 win in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, when the lead changed hand five times in the final nine minutes. Green Bay could have secured a playoff spot with its first win in Pittsburgh since 1970 and a Giants loss or tie on Monday night but, instead, Minnesota clinched the NFC North with the Packers' loss.

Fast Facts

• The Steelers snapped their five-game losing streak and ended the Packers' five-game win streak.

• Ben Roethlisberger set a Pittsburgh record with 503 passing yards. Tommy Maddox had 473 in 2002.

• Big Ben became the first QB to throw for 500 yards in a game since Drew Brees put up 510 in 2006. He also became the first to throw for 500-plus in a win since Boomer Esiason in 1996.

• Aaron Rodgers threw for three TDs, including a career-best 83-yard strike to Greg Jennings.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Roethlisberger went 29 of 46 with three TDs and 503 yards passing while becoming the first Steelers quarterback to throw for 500 yards in a game. He kept the Steelers' decisive 86-yard drive going by finding Holmes for 32 yards on a fourth-and-7 play and Heath Miller for 30 on third-and-15.

Down to his last play, Roethlisberger found Wallace open in the left front corner of the end zone with Josh Bell in coverage. Wallace managed to keep both feet in on a play upheld by replay, and Jeff Reed -- who also kicked three field goals -- added the extra point.

Roethlisberger broke the team record of 473 yards by Tommy Maddox during a 34-all tie against Atlanta in 2002. His yardage is a league season high; Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb threw for 450 against San Diego on Nov. 15.

"The guys were coming back to the huddle worn out, linemen, receivers, everybody," Roethlisberger said. "We didn't quit. Everybody believed we could do it."

Including Wallace, who made no other catches except for his touchdowns. Shortly before making his decisive catch, Wallace quickly went to the locker room to get stitches to close a gash on his knee.

"It was kind of hard to run," Wallace said. "But that's just Ben. That's all I can say. That's just Ben."

Asked if he had good coverage on the play, Bell said, "Not good enough."

"You lose on a last-second play, with a spectacular throw and catch, it's tough," the Packers' Clay Matthews said. "Hindsight's always 20-20 but we knew what we were getting ourselves into. It was a dogfight."

Wallace also caught a 60-yard scoring pass on Pittsburgh's first play of the game as Steelers (7-7) joined five other AFC teams tied at 7-7 in the chase for the AFC's last playoff spot -- and just in time. One more play, and their season probably would have been over.

"Not dead yet," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We've got a little pulse here."

The Steelers have lost five times when ahead or tied in the fourth quarter, but they rallied this time during a final quarter that featured four lead changes and a failed Pittsburgh onside kick attempt with the Steelers ahead.

Aaron Rodgers, who finished 26 of 48 for 383 yards and three touchdown passes and ran for another, threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to James Jones on third-and-14 with 2:06 remaining to put Green Bay up 36-30 after Pittsburgh gambled and failed on an onside kick.

But the Steelers came back while outgaining the Packers 537-436 in a game that matched two of the NFL's top four defenses but turned into a passing duel almost from the start. Pittsburgh avoided becoming the first Super Bowl champion to lose six in a row the following season.

It was a tense and discouraging finish for Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, a Pittsburgh native who couldn't deliver the Packers' first victory in his hometown since shortly after the Vince Lombardi era ended. The Packers are 0-4 since winning there in 1970.

"This is classic December football," McCarthy said. "It came down to the last play and we didn't get it done."

The Packers trailed 7-0, 14-7, 21-14 and 27-21 as Roethlisberger also threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Mewelde Moore late in the second quarter that made it 21-14. Green Bay went ahead for the first time at 28-27 on Ryan Grant's 24-yard touchdown run halfway through the fourth quarter. Before that, Rodgers hit Greg Jennings on an 83-yard TD pass that tied it at 7 and scooted through the Steelers' surprised defense on a 14-yard TD run that made it 14-all.

Pittsburgh later retook the lead on Reed's 43-yard field goal, his third of the game, with 3:58 remaining, but Tomlin -- aggressively trying to shake his team out of a slide that was ruining their season -- called for a surprise onside kick.

"To be honest, we hadn't stopped them and they hadn't stopped us," Tomlin said.

Ike Taylor fielded the ball before the kick bounced the required 10 yards, giving the Packers a huge break and the ball at Pittsburgh's 39-yard line. The Packers went on to score but, at the end, simply left their exhausted defense on the field one play too many.

"Unfortunately, the last team with the ball would win," Rodgers said.

The game was nearly devoid of running attempts -- Grant ran for a team-high 37 yards for Green Bay, Rashard Mendenhall gained 38 for Pittsburgh -- and featured nearly 900 yards passing.

Game notes


A season after the Steelers beat San Diego in the first 11-10 game in NFL history, they won the first 37-36 game, according to STATS, LLC. ... Roethlisberger, Y.A. Tittle and Warren Moon are the only NFL quarterbacks to throw for at least 500 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. ... The Steelers are 5-2 against teams that are .500 or better but 2-4 against losing-record teams. ... Steelers long snapper Greg Warren apparently tore a knee ligament on the final extra point and is likely out for the season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
GB
PIT
1st Downs1828
Passing 1st downs
1520
Rushing 1st downs
33
1st downs from penalties
05
3rd down efficiency
10-167-16
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Plays6170
Total Yards436537
Yards per play7.17.7
Total Drives1213
Passing376472
Comp-Att
26-4829-46
Yards per pass
7.79.3
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-75-31
Rushing6065
Rushing Attempts
1219
Yards per rush
5.03.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-43-5
Penalties7-5310-84
Turnovers00
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession24:3835:22

Passing Leaders

GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rodgers26/483838.0301-7
PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger29/4650310.9305-31

Rushing Leaders

GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Grant8374.6124
Rodgers3227.3114
PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall11383.5110
Parker6223.709

Receiving Leaders

GBRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jennings511823.6183
Driver37625.3049
PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Ward712618.0054
Miller711816.9027

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERGBPIT
pitTD14:28Mike Wallace 60 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 60 yds, 0:00
07
gbTD10:08Greg Jennings 83 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 88 yds, 1:33
77
pitTD3:52Rashard Mendenhall 2 Yard Run (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 72 yds, 6:09
714
SECOND QUARTERGBPIT
gbTD3:10Aaron Rodgers 14 Yard Run (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 52 yds, 3:51
1414
pitTD0:30Mewelde Moore 10 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 2:38
1421
THIRD QUARTERGBPIT
pitFG4:40Jeff Reed 37 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 55 yds, 6:12
1424
FOURTH QUARTERGBPIT
gbTD13:35Jermichael Finley 11 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 69 yds, 6:06
2124
pitFG9:49Jeff Reed 34 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 47 yds, 3:45
2127
gbTD7:58Ryan Grant 24 Yard Run (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 62 yds, 1:56
2827
pitFG4:03Jeff Reed 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 44 yds, 3:51
2830
gbTD2:12James Jones 24 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Aaron Rodgers Pass to Brandon Jackson For Two-Point Conversion is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 39 yds, 1:52
3630
pitTD0:03Mike Wallace 19 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 86 yds, 2:06
3637