1. Sports

Steelers rally, win AFC North

Published Dec. 26, 2016

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.


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