Steelers vs. Packers 2013 recap: Green Bay fumbles away critical game, loses 38-31

A costly fumble gave the Steelers a win and the Packers now need a Bears loss to stay in the playoff hunt.

The Green Bay Packers' march toward the playoffs took a hit on Sunday evening, as a late Matt Flynn fumble foiled a fourth-quarter rally and gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a 38-31 win.

After charging back from down 10 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game, Flynn coughed up the ball on a third-down run with just under two minutes remaining. The Steelers recovered on the 17-yard line, setting up a game-winning touchdown run by Le'Veon Bell.

The Packers got as close as the 1-yard line on the ensuing possession, but Flynn's pass went off the fingertips of Jarrett Boykin in the end zone as time expired.

The loss drops the Packers to 7-7-1. They'll now need the Chicago Bears to lose to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Steelers improve to 7-8, but need significant help if they hope to grab the last AFC wild-card spot.

Flynn threw a touchdown pass and Eddie Lacy rushed for another as the Packers built a 14-10 halftime lead. After Ben Roethlisberger scampered for a 13-yard touchdown run to give the Steelers the lead early in the second half, things started getting crazy.

With just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bell fumbled the ball on his own 2-yard line, gifting the Packers a golden opportunity to pull back into the lead. It appeared Pittsburgh dodged the bullet when the Packers went three-and-out and had the ensuing field goal blocked, but an odd penalty call gave Green Bay the ball back. Steelers lineman Ziggy Hood was flagged for illegal batting after he slapped the ball forward out of bounds to prevent the Packers from falling on the ball.

Steelersblock_medium

The Packers were given a first-and-goal from the 2 and Lacy wasted no time in plunging in to give the Packers a 21-17 lead.

The Steelers mounted an immediate answer, driving down the field on six quick plays and finishing the drive with a Ben Roethlisberger-to-Matt Spaeth 11-yard touchdown.

Things got even wackier on the next Packers possession. Flynn had one of his own players bump into him as he was releasing a pass, and Cortez Allen plucked the resulting duck from the air and raced 40 yards to give the Steelers a 31-21 lead.

Nooflynnnooo_medium

Trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Packers mounted a rally. It started when A.J. Hawk intercepted Roethlisberger just before the close of the third quarter, setting up a 22-yard Mason Crosby field goal. They promptly got the ball back and marched 58 yards to score the tying touchdown. With Lacy on the sideline with an ankle injury, fullback John Kuhn pushed in for a 1-yard score.

Fantasy stud and duds

Flynn had a decent day in the loss, throwing for 232 yards, one touchdown and one pick. James Jones was his favorite target, catching nine passes for 84 yards. Boykin caught the one touchdown pass.

Bell had a big game, rushing for 124 yards and a score. Roethlisberger threw a pair of touchdowns and one pick to go along with a pedestrian 167 yards passing. Antonio Brown led the team with six catches for 105 yards.

Injury report

Lacy did not return after tweaking his ankle early in the fourth quarter. The Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate had 84 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Did they cover?

The Steelers were 1-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com, so they covered the spread with the win.

What's next?

Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ET: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ET: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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