Steelers trick play backfires horribly in chaotic final seconds of the NFL's game of the year

  • The New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-24, in a chaotic final minute.
  • 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 and threw a game-sealing interception.


The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots 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 to score a touchdown and put the Patriots up, 27-24, the Steelers answered back with a huge catch-and-run by receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster that got the Steelers to the Patriots' 10-yard-line.

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Chaotic game between Steelers, Patriots on Dec. 17
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Chaotic game between Steelers, Patriots on Dec. 17
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lands awkwardly after being unable to catch a pass in the second quarter during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on December 17, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (29) is stopped by New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) catches a touchdown against the defense of New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) makes a catch against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a first quarter pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) in the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) grabs his leg after suffering an apparent injury against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (33) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field.The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates a two point conversion in the fourth quarter as Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis (28) looks away at Heinz Field. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) fails to hold the ball as he falls across the goal line against New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) and strong safety Duron Harmon (30) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The play was ruled an incomplete pass. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks from the field during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New England Patriots defensive back Duron Hamon (30) celebrates a fourth quarter interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
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It was perfect position for the Steelers. With 34 seconds to play, the Steelers could try for end zone a few times and settle for a game-tying field goal if they failed.

On the next play the Steelers appeared to score with 28 seconds left when Ben Roethlisberger found tight end Jesse James up the middle for a touchdown.


However, replays 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 catch since 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' seven-yard line with 23 seconds remaining and the clock ticking down.

Most expected the Steelers to spike the ball, 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 while he threw it to Smith-Schuster 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 subject to debate all week.

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