The Final Spike
The Steelers V Patriots game on Sunday December 17th was the most important game of the season for both teams. Before the game started, the Patriots were 10-3 and the Steelers 11-2. They are fighting one another for the number one seed. The game was a rollercoaster ride. On their first drive the Patriots scored, which marked the first time a team scored against the Steelers defense on their opening drive in the past 2 seasons. The Steelers quickly responded back with a touchdown and tied up 7-7. At halftime, the teams were going back and forth and the score was 17-10 Steelers.
Now this was when things got interesting. The Patriots score with 56 seconds left in the game to take a 27-24 lead. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers then drive down the field on a huge play by rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The second round pick took a catch and run 69 yards to the 20 yard line. The Steelers then scored with 23 seconds left, but that got called back on a rule that was executed correctly, but should be changed as it defies two other rules like when you are a runner and cross the plane of the goal line no matter what happens after the play is dead and it is a touchdown, but we have to see what happens during the offseason on that. The very next play with Big Ben and Todd Haley, the Steelers offensive coordinator, wanted to spike it and kick the field and go to OT, but at the last second Big Ben got a call through the helmet by head coach Mike Tomlin to not clock it and go for it. So Ben was barely able to get a receiver to run a route and forced it into triple coverage and was picked off after the ball was tipped in the air. That ended the game.
The Steelers offense was in confusion as no one but Ben knew of the play change. Tom Brady finished with a stat line of 22/35 298 yards 1 TD 1 Int. Gronk had 9 receptions for 168 yards. Big Ben finished with a stat line of 22/30 281 yards 2 TD’s and 1 Int. Le’Veon Bell finished with 165 all purpose yards and JuJu Smith-Schuster finished with 6 receptions for 114 yards.
This game certainly lived up to the hype. Now with the Patriots holding the tiebreaker for the number one seed it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.