- The New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-24, in a chaotic final minute on Sunday.
- The Steelers appeared to score a touchdown with 28 seconds left to take the lead, but replays showed the play was actually incomplete under the NFL’s controversial catch rule.
- Ben Roethlisberger then pretended to spike the ball to trick the Patriots but threw a game-sealing interception.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots on Sunday gave us one of the best games and wildest endings of the NFL season.
After Tom Brady led a drive down field in the final two minutes that ended with a touchdown and 27-24 Patriots lead, the Steelers answered with a huge catch-and-run by receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster that got the Steelers to the Patriots’ 10-yard line.
It was perfect position for the Steelers. With 34 seconds to play, the Steelers could try for the end zone a few times and settle for a tying field goal if they failed.
The Steelers appeared to score on the next play, with 28 seconds left, when Ben Roethlisberger found tight end Jesse James up the middle.
Replays, however, showed that James didn’t actually catch the ball according to the NFL’s controversial catch rule. James bobbled the ball as he hit the ground, making it an incomplete pass because he did not technically “complete the catch” as he went to the ground.
With the Steelers back at it, they made one more play to get to the Patriots’ 7-yard line with 23 seconds remaining and the clock ticking down.
Most expected the Steelers to spike the ball and then kick the easy field goal to tie the game. Instead, with five seconds remaining, Roethlisberger tried to fool the Patriots with a fake spike followed by a pass to Eli Rogers in the end zone.
Bad idea: The Patriots picked it off.
Once again, the Patriots found a way to squeak out a win after trailing for most of the game.
The game undoubtedly delivered on the hype as the AFC’s two best teams squared off, and surely the execution, officiating, and play calling will be debated all week.