PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris combined for 183 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Green Bay Packers 23-19 on Sunday.
The Steelers (6-3) won their ninth straight game decided by eight points or less by following a formula that has become familiar. A little offense. A timely turnover and just enough of everything else to survive.
Pittsburgh used touchdown runs by their two backs — who have become essentially 1A and 1B — and Chris Boswell's three field goals to head into a pivotal stretch with momentum.
Patrick Peterson blocked an extra point and added a tipped ball that turned into Keanu Neal's interception in the end zone with 3:20 remaining. Green Bay got the ball back with 59 seconds to go and drove deep into Pittsburgh territory, but Jordan Love's last-gasp throw to the end zone was picked off by Damontae Kazee.
Kazee returned it 30 yards before stepping out of bounds with time expired. Kazee was pushed by Green Bay lineman Zach Tom, leading to Kazee running over Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith. A brief melee ensued before cooler heads prevailed.
Love completed 21 of 40 for 289 yards and two touchdowns, but the Packers (3-6) were unable to back up last week's victory over the Los Angeles Rams despite outgaining the Steelers 399-324.
Then again, that doesn’t mean much when playing Pittsburgh. The Steelers have been outgained in every game this season, and it somehow hasn’t stopped them from staying in the thick of the playoff race as Thanksgiving approaches.
Green Bay trailed by 10 early but took a 19-17 lead on Anders Carlson's field goal late in the third quarter.
Typically, that’s when the Steelers respond. Pittsburgh has made a penchant for rallying in tight games. Wearing the vintage block numbers from the franchise’s iconic “Super Steelers,” Pittsburgh managed to get in field goal range twice to reclaim the lead.
The defense did the rest as the Steelers’ unorthodox approach of watching opponents lose games as much as Pittsburgh tries to win it continued.
Two teams that have struggled to generate much of anything all season — particularly in the first half — spent the opening two quarters trading scores.
The Steelers scored on each of their first three possessions, with Harris and Warren — who were introduced as co-starters before the game — racing into the end zone for touchdowns while Boswell added a 42-yard field goal that gave Pittsburgh a 17-7 advantage, just the second time all season the Steelers have led by double digits.
It was fleeting.
Love found space in a secondary missing injured All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Green Bay — which was averaging an NFL-worst 4.5 points in the first half, scored 13. Love threw two touchdown passes, including a pretty 35-yard strike to Jayden Reed that brought the Packers to within 17-13 at the break.
Steelers: LB Kwon Alexander exited in the first quarter with a leg injury and did not return.
Packers: Welcome the Los Angeles Chargers to Lambeau Field next Sunday.
Steelers: Visit the Browns next Sunday. Pittsburgh won the first meeting with Cleveland 26-22 on Sept. 18.
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Will Graves, The Associated Press