Late-Game Mistakes Prove Costly as Green Bay Packers Lose to Pittsburgh Steelers

By Ryan Heckman
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In an exciting afternoon game, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers went at it in the snow at Lambeau Field. For the Packers, it was an incredibly important game in order to keep pace with the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. With a loss, the Packers could wind up losing the division on the same day.

Green Bay was forced to start Matt Flynn yet again in place of Aaron Rodgers, who again sat out due to a collarbone injury. Flynn, though, had performed pretty well up to this point for the Packers, especially taking into consideration he was signed and thrown into the fire so soon late in the year.

On this day, Flynn did not end up receiving much praise. Having already thrown an interception, Flynn provided a second costly turnover late in the game that began a three-part series of mistakes for the Packers, which ultimately ended up being the difference between a win and a loss.

With the score tied 31-31 late in the fourth quarter, the Packers had the ball down on their own 10-yard line with the opportunity for Flynn to execute a game-winning drive. On a 3rd down and eight, Flynn scrambled to his left and fumbled as he was going to the ground. Pittsburgh ultimately recovered, and the game looked to be very close to over at that point.

However, the Packers held the Steelers to a field goal attempt after stopping them on third down.

But, as Pittsburgh snapped the ball and went for the kick to put them up three, Nick Perry jumped offsides and gave the Steelers an automatic 1st down inside the 10. From there, two short runs by Le’Veon Bell put the Steelers up 38-31 with about a minute and a half to go.

On the following kickoff, Micah Hyde returned the ball all the way to the Pittsburgh 31-yard line, setting up the Packers for what could be a game-tying drive on a short field. With no timeouts, the Packers drove down to the 1-yard line where they were surely going to run it in like they had been all game long, when Don Barclay jumped offsides, forcing the Packers back to the 11-yard line and one final play.

Flynn tossed an incompletion to end the game.

With the loss, the Packers have to feel quite the sting. Having had the opportunity to win or tie the game, Green Bay committed some costly mistakes that were huge swings in momentum for Pittsburgh. Now, it may all come down to a week 17 showdown in the black and blue division between the Packers and Bears to see who heads into the postseason.

It is still unclear whether Rodgers could be back by next week, with some reports coming out Sunday that Rodgers was in fact “no where close to returning” heading into the weekend. If Green Bay has to count on Flynn in the cold weather again, it might spell trouble for the Packers’ playoff hopes.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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