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Packers Lose Heartbreaker In Pittsburgh


When the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers met Sunday, they were two teams heading in opposite directions.

The Packers were riding a five game win streak, while the Steelers carried a five game losing streak into the contest. Both teams boasted a top ten defense. It was a dog fight from the very start, with both teams clawing for the chance at a wildcard berth.

In a wild back and forth battle where neither top ten defense could stop the opponents offense, the Steelers got the final laugh, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found receiver Mike Wallace in the corner of the endzone with no time left on the clock to give Pittsburgh a 37-36 victory.

The play closely resembled Roethlisberger's game winning touchdown pass to receiver Santonio Holmes against the Arizona Cardinals in Superbowl XLIII last February. This time it was the Packers on the receiving end of the defeat.

The Steelers started the drive at their own 15 yardline with just over two minutes to play in the game and only one timeout remaining, following a touchdown pass from Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to receiver James Jones.

But a huge pass play on a 4th and 7 from the Pittsburgh 20 yardline and numerous penalties on the Packer secondary allowed Pittsburgh to march down the field for the game winning score. Cornerback Jarrett Bush was beat several times on the drive and a holding penalty on linebacker Brandon Chillar negated what would have been a game ending interception by Bush.

The Packer defense came close to ending the game several times on the drive, but was unable to get it done. On the second to last play of the game, defensive end Cullen Jenkins beat his man and got to Roethlisberger, but was unable to record the sack.

Roethlisberger was able to throw the ball away with three seconds remaining. Had Jenkins been able to bring him down, the game probably would have ended, as the Steelers had no timeouts left.

The Packers' struggling place kicker Mason Crosby missed yet another makable field goal early in the game, this time from 34 yards. Those three points proved to be the difference between a win and a loss for Green Bay.

The Packers are still in a good position to make the playoffs, however if they can't rely on their kicker to make field goals in any situation, a deep playoff run is unlikely. Sunday's game marked the fifth in a row that Crosby has missed from inside of 40 yards.

The Green Bay defense was unable to generate a turnover for the first time in several weeks and gave up a whopping 503 passing yards. The offense made several big plays through the air, but had little to no running game. Before his fourth quarter 24 yard touchdown run, running back Ryan Grant had only 17 yads on seven carries.

A Packer win would have given them a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a Giants loss or tie Monday night. Instead Green Bay will have to wait one more week at least to clinch a spot in the postseason for the first time since they lost in the NFC Championship game in January of 2008.

Despite a slow start, Rodgers was 26-48 for 383 and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Receiver Greg Jennings caught five passes for 118 yards, including an 83 yard touchdown in the first quarter. Tight end Jermichael Finley hauled in nine receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.

The Packers will return to Lambeau Field next Sunday to take on the Seattle Seahawks, who became the second team to lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.


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