Steelers receiver Antonio Brown almost scored what would have gone down as one of the greatest plays in NFL history.
Almost being the key word.
The Steelers almost pulled off the modern version of the Cal-Stanford "The band is on the field!" play. We've seen plenty of teams try the end-game play with multiple laterals, but it almost never works. New Orleans pulled it off against Jacksonville in 2003, and then missed the extra point to tie the game. But it usually just ends up with the team moving further and further back before fumbling or being tackled.
The Steelers sprung this one to the end zone and for a moment it looked like they had pulled off a miraculous win.
On the final play of the game against Miami, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a pass to Emmanuel Sanders, who ran around for a bit before lateraling back to Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery lateraled it back to Le’Veon Bell, who threw it back to offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert.
Gilbert smartly threw it right away to Roethlisberger, who threw a sidearm lateral to Brown as he was being tackled. Brown, on a snowy and slippery field, cut between two Dolphins defenders and was inexplicably in the open field.
Brown moved down the sideline, eluded a couple more defenders and got in the end zone. But he stepped out of bounds, and barely. His left foot was probably an inch or two on the sideline. In real time it was tough to even tell (great call by the official to see it and rule him out right away) but freeze frame on the replay confirmed it.
Brown was out of bounds, and it went from one of the greatest finishes ever to something nobody will remember. That inch or two might cost the Steelers a playoff spot. Instead of kicking an extra point to beat the Dolphins 35-34 and improve to 6-7 and stay in the AFC race, the Steelers lost 34-28 and are now 5-8. They aren't completely out of the playoff race yet, but it looks pretty bleak.
Too bad. They'd have talked about Brown's crazy touchdown for years in Pittsburgh, and everywhere else, really.
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