Nearly as crazy as nearly four hours of insanity at wintry Lambeau Field in a victory that included massive momentum swings, a rarely seen penalty on a batted ball, a perfectly executed fake punt and one last stand by a couple of veterans who are in the twilights of their career.
Yet when Matt Flynn’s last-second pass fell incomplete, Pittsburgh hopped the plane home with a puncher’s chance.
“This team just keeps fighting,” running back Le’Veon Bell said. “We faltered a bit at the beginning of the season, but guys are really fighting, trying to get into the playoffs.”
Even if they don’t make it, the Steelers hardly look like the sad sack that was woefully overmatched when it was whipped by the Patriots. Pittsburgh forced a pair of turnovers and converted both into touchdowns. Bell shook off a fumble and ran for a career-high 124 yards and the winning score with 1:25 to go.
It’s a touchdown that came after the 35-year-old Keisel — playing for only the second time in the last six weeks due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot — jumped on a loose ball deep in Green Bay territory after safety Troy Polamalu jarred it loose from a scrambling Flynn.
Thanks to an offsides penalty on a field goal attempt that eventually pushed the ball to the Green Bay 1, Bell strolled into the end zone as the Packers intentionally put up little resistance.
Green Bay’s goal was to preserve enough time on the clock to try and drive back down the field and knot the game again rather than let Pittsburgh milk the clock and kick a short field goal at the end.
Though the Packers nearly pulled it off, Tomlin defended his decision again on Monday.
“Obviously, there are a lot of options and I’m sure that they had options in terms of how they could have finished the game,” Tomlin said. “All of that is good armchair quarterback Monday stuff. We did what we had to do to win the football game.”