Steelers stay alive, push Packers to the brink


The Pittsburgh Steelers kept their slim playoff hopes alive while dealing the Green Bay Packers a potentially deadly blow in a 38-31 win on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

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Here's what we learned:

1. The Steelers' map to the playoffs: Win next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns to go with Week 17 losses by the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers. Chances aren't great, but Mike Tomlin would've signed up for this in a second back when the Steelers were 2-6. The Packers are done if the Chicago Bears win on Sunday night.

2. Eddie Lacy deserves the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, but the real eye-opening performance came from his counterpart on Sunday. Le'Veon Bell ran with purpose all game, becoming the first Steelers running back to go over 100 yards in the last 23 games. He's a keeper.

3. Matt Flynn made two big mistakes in the final minutes, one physical and one mental. The Packers quarterback lost a fumble inside his own 20-yard line with two minutes to play, setting up Pittsburgh's go-ahead score. Then, with the Packers on the Steelers' 6-yard line with 10 seconds to play, Flynn burned too much time after officials restarted the game clock. He got off only one play (a game-ending incomplete pass), when he should've had time for two.

4. Clay Matthews exited the game after suffering a thumb injury. It's the same thumb Matthews had surgery on earlier this season. Lacy also exited with an ankle injury. Mike McCarthy said he's suffered the same injury before.Green Bay could be missing some star power if they're playing for the NFC North next week.

5. The Packers got a gift seven points in the third quarter when Mason Crosby's 23-yard field-goal attempt was blocked and Green Bay still ended up with a first down on the 2-yard line. We did our best to explain what happened right here. The red phone on Dean Blandino's night stand is ringing.

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