Sports

Steelers win over Colts gives them reason to ‘believe again’

Call them the Stealers, and name them the AFC North champions for the primary time since 2017.

The Colts seemingly had Pittsburgh headed for its fourth straight loss following an 11-0 begin, however Ben Roethlisberger engineered three second-half landing drives to erase a 17-point deficit — and clinch the division title — with a 28-24 win over Indianapolis at Heinz Field.

The 38-year-old Roethlisberger related with Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron and JuJu Smith-Schuster for touchdowns within the remaining 18 minutes — the final a 25-yarder to take the lead with 7:38 remaining.

“Sometimes you need a little shock to yourself to believe again,” stated Roethlisberger, who completed with a season-high 342 passing yards after managing simply 98 by way of two quarters.

The Steelers (12-3) donned AFC North champion hats and T-shirts and posted dancing movies from their postgame locker-room celebration.

“We’ve been waiting for a few weeks to put them on, man,” stated Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin, who declined to say whether or not he’ll relaxation Roethlisberger or different starters in Week 17 towards Cleveland. “We’ll ponder those possibilities in the morning. Tonight, we’ll wear our hats and T-shirts.”

Steelers
James Conner hugs JuJu Smith-Schuster after the Steelers beat the Colts on Sunday.
AP

Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (270 yards) was intercepted on the Steelers’ 12-yard line on the following drive. With the Indy loss, Tennessee had an opportunity to clinch the AFC South with a win Sunday night time towards Green Bay.

The Colts (10-5) are in a four-way tie with Miami, Baltimore and Cleveland for the three wild-card spots within the AFC, however they fell to the eighth seed and could possibly be eradicated even when they put up their eleventh win subsequent week towards Jacksonville.

“Very disappointed. When we had everything to play for, we just didn’t have all the answers in the second half of a game we had to have,” Colts coach Frank Reich stated. “I’m not doubting the coaches or the players. We had a bad game, a bad half and we weren’t able to finish it off. We’ve got to learn from it, get better next week and get some help.”

KC Is The Sunshine Band

The highway to the Super Bowl within the AFC as soon as once more will undergo Kansas City.

The Chiefs had a more durable than anticipated time shifting the ball Sunday towards the Falcons — posting their lowest offensive output of the season — however they clinched the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye within the AFC with a 17-14 victory in Atlanta.

“I think it was just a bad day for the offense, starting with me,” Patrick Mahomes stated after registering his lowest single-game passer ranking (79.6) of the season. “I think the offense will figure it out.”

The Chiefs (14-1) hadn’t scored fewer than 23 factors in any of their first 14 video games, however the Twenty eighth-ranked Falcons protection held the league’s No. 1 offense to a 7-7 tie at halftime.

Mahomes flipped a 25-yard landing cross to Demarcus Robinson with 1:55 remaining, and Pro Bowl kicker Younghoe Koo pushed a possible game-tying 39-yard subject objective broad proper within the closing seconds for the Falcons (4-11). Koo had entered the sport with only one miss on 36 makes an attempt this season.

“At that moment, I just have to come through,” Koo stated. “Next time, I’ll make that.”

Bears
Mitchell Trubisky scores a landing towards the Bears.
Getty Images

No Longers Playing Dead

The Bears stay one of many NFL’s streakiest groups, profitable their third in a row following a six-game shedding streak to place themselves for an NFC playoff berth with a 41-17 win over NFL-worst Jacksonville (1-14), which clinched the first-overall choose within the 2021 draft.

The Bears (8-7) will earn an NFC wild-card spot with a win subsequent week over Green Bay or a loss by Arizona (additionally 8-7) to the Rams.

“We’re guaranteed one more game, nothing else,” Bears coach Matt Nagy stated. “If we do well in that one game, then we’ll have the opportunity for more. But we can’t worry about that. We just worry about us.”

Mitchell Trubisky had 265 passing yards and two scoring throws to Jimmy Graham — and he ran for one more TD — because the Bears scored no less than 30 factors in a fourth straight sport for the primary time since 1965.

“It does give us confidence,” Trubisky stated. “It all starts with an expectation, just having a high expectation for us in this offense that this is what we’re capable of and nothing less is going to be acceptable.”

Silence of the Rams

The Seahawks (11-4) held Sean McVay with out a landing to clinch the NFC West for the primary time since 2017 — whereas additionally holding alive their likelihood for the No. 1-overall seed within the NFC — with a defensive-minded 20-9 win over the Rams (9-6).

Los Angeles would have clinched a wild-card spot with a win, and nonetheless can accomplish that if it defeats Arizona (8-7) in Week 17.

Russell Wilson (225 passing yards) had a 4-yard scoring run within the third quarter and located Jacob Hollister ultimately zone from 13 yards out for an 11-point lead with 2:51 remaining for the Seahawks, who will face San Francisco of their season finale.

The Hurt Locker

Rams quarterback Jared Goff suffered a damaged thumb, in accordance to NFL Network, on Seahawks defensive finish Benson Mayowa’s helmet on a second-half cross try. Goff completed the sport, however his availability for subsequent week towards Arizona seems in query.

Other accidents across the league: Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf), Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (stinger), Texans OT Laremy Tunsil (foot) and G Brent Qvale (concussion), Jaguars FB Bruce Miller (concussion), Bengals CB William Jackson (concussion), Ravens C Patrick Mekari (again), Browns LBs Tae Davis (ankle) and Sione Takitaki (ankle), Panthers OT Trent Scott (shoulder).

Post Patterns

Chiefs tight finish Travis Kelce set the single-season document for receiving yardage by a good finish with 1,426, breaking George Kittle’s mark (1,377) set in 2018. Kelce (105 receptions) additionally grew to become the primary tight finish in historical past with a number of 100-catch seasons. … Rivers’ TD cross to Zach Pascal tied him with Dan Marino for fifth on the all-time checklist with 420. … Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen registered 371 passing yards and two scores as Cincinnati (4-10-1) posted its second straight win, 37-31, over Houston (4-11). … Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert surpassed 4,000 passing yards and tossed his Twenty eighth TD cross to break Baker Mayfield’s rookie document (27 in 2018) as Los Angeles (6-9) posted a 19-16 win over Denver (5-10). Michael Badgley kicked a 37-yard subject objective with 41 seconds remaining for the Chargers.

AFC Playoff Scenarios

The Chiefs have clinched the first-round bye, whereas Pittsburgh and Buffalo (11-3) have clinched division titles. Tennessee wanted to win one in every of its remaining two video games to clinch the AFC South. Miami, Baltimore and Cleveland (all 10-5) would clinch a playoff berth with a win in Week 17, and Indianapolis (additionally 10-5) would wish a win towards Jacksonville and one of many others to lose for an opportunity at a wild card or two Tennessee losses for an opportunity on the division title.

The Dolphins personal tiebreaker benefits over the opposite 10-5 groups, the Ravens management them over the Browns and Colts, whereas the Browns would advance if tied with Indianapolis. All different AFC groups have been eradicated.

NFC Playoff Scenarios

The NFC playoff order nonetheless stays unclear, however the Packers had an opportunity to transfer nearer to clinching the No. 1 seed and home-field benefit Sunday night time towards Tennessee. The Saints (11-4) have already got clinched the NFC South and the Seahawks (11-4) sewed up the NFC West. Washington (6-9), Dallas (6-9) or the Giants (5-10) all nonetheless have a shot to win the NFC East.

The Buccaneers (10-5) have clinched one NFC wild card, whereas the Rams (9-6), Bears (8-7) and Cardinals (8-7) are vying for the ultimate two spots. The winner of the Rams-Cardinals sport in Week 17 would clinch one in every of them. Chicago owns the tiebreaker over Arizona if each lose subsequent week. All different NFC groups have been eradicated.

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