Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Steelers rally, win AFC North

PITTSBURGH — The clock ticking and a season filled with promise evaporating, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the snap, turned to his left and put the AFC North title in the hands of Antonio Brown.

The star receiver caught the ball at the Baltimore 1 and waited for the hit he knew was coming. When it arrived from Ravens safety Eric Weddle and linebacker C.J. Mosley, Brown ducked his head and stretched the ball across the goal line for a playoff-clinching touchdown.

Reeling in November. Heck, reeling early in the fourth quarter at home on Christmas Day against an archrival that has more than had their number in recent years, the Steelers are heading to the playoffs anyway.

Brown's lunging 4-yard score with nine seconds left lifted Pittsburgh to a 31-27 win Sunday and a second division title in three years, delivering just as Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell predicted Brown would.

"Over there by the heaters before the final drive, he said, 'AB, you got to go down there and get the game winner,' " Brown said.

It was a play Brown's teammates have seen many times, just never with so much on the line. "That's AB," receiver Damarcus Ayers said. "He does it so much in practice, it doesn't 'wow' you in a game."

Baltimore was eliminated from contention.

Brown finished with 10 receptions for 96 yards to join Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison as the only players with four straight 100-catch seasons. Roethlisberger shook off a pair of third-quarter interceptions to finish with 279 yards passing and three touchdowns. Bell ran for 122 yards and a score and hauled in another on an ad-libbed play by Roethlisberger as Pittsburgh rallied from a 10-point deficit to win its sixth straight. The Steelers host during wild-card weekend on Jan. 7 or 8, heady territory considering they were 4-5 after falling to Dallas on Nov. 13.

The Ravens took the lead on Kyle Juszczyk's 10-yard burst up the middle with 1:18 left. But Roethlisberger led the Steelers 75 yards in 10 plays for the winner.

Chiefs 33, Broncos 10: With their postseason spot secured, the host Chiefs turned to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to roll and keep their AFC West title hopes alive. Kelce had 11 catches for 160 yards and a TD, and Hill took a handoff 70 yards for another score to oust the Super Bowl champs from the playoff chase. Kansas City punctuated the win when 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe, lined up at QB, threw a 2-yard jump pass to Demetrius Harris for a late TD. Broncos defensive back Kayvon Webster was taken off on a cart after getting hurt covering a kickoff. The team reported the former USF standout had a concussion.

Packers-Lions moved: The NFC North title showdown — Green Bay at Detroit — has been moved to Sunday night (8:30) on New Year's Day.

Steelers rally, win AFC North 12/25/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 26, 2016 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant

    Last season: 28-4

    This week: Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

    Plant High outside hitter Camryn Vogler (1) hits the ball over the net past St. Thomas Aquinas outside hitter Kirsten Klos (10) during the Class 8A state volleyball final between Plant High and St. Thomas Aquinas at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. St. Thomas beat Plant High 3-0.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Key roster battles

    Bucs

    Greg Auman looks ahead to tonight's third episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," and talks about key roster battles that could shift with the Bucs' third preseason game Saturday night against the Browns on our …

    Bucs running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) is hit by middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) while running the ball during training camp. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Rays series preview: Who are the Blue Jays?

    Blogs

    Last week, the Rays faced the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre, dropping three of four. This week, they'll play three games at Tropicana Field. Here's the information you need to know about Toronto before the action kicks off.

    Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit four home runs in as many games against the Rays last week.
  4. And the most-searched NFL player in Florida is ...

    Bucs

    The Bucs just faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason, and open their 2017 season at the Miami Dolphins. So with the state's NFL competition ahead of and just behind the Bucs, who do you think is the NFL player most searched on Google by Floridians?

    Fans react with excitement moments after the Bucs announce their first-round pick at the team's 2016 NFL draft party. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. 5 miles and a lot of emotion between Sickles, Alonso

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA — From one campus to another, the distance between Sickles and Alonso high schools is 5.4 miles.

    New Alonso coach Reggie Crume spent three years at Palm Harbor University, so he knows a little something about neighborhood rivalries. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)