Packers versus Steelers: The Most Important Play

The Green Bay Packers put forth a fantastic effort on Sunday night and came up just short. It’s easy to forget how one play can have such a massive impact on the outcome of a game, but there were several big plays that will stick out to most fans.

Crucial Mistakes Doom Packers in Sunday Night Thriller

However, I’ve identified one play that dramatically shifted the game in the Steelers favor that few are talking about.

With 12:56 to go in the 4th quarter Mike Daniels made a key sack of Ben Roethlisberger. The score was 21-21, and that play brought up 2nd and 20. Dom Capers called an exceptionally conservative defense which had all his players in coverage giving up huge cushions. Kyler Fackrell got an immediate push up the middle (I think the blocker let him through on a screen pass like bluff-block). The Steelers’ Guard did appear to hold Fackrell, but no flag was thrown. Roethlisberger used his eyes to continue to move the Safeties and Linebackers down the field with the WRs. Then he dumped it off to Le’veon Bell who took the ball 14 yards.

A 2nd and 20 suddenly turned into a 3rd and 6. The Steelers were able to convert the 3rd down on a pass to Eli Rogers. This lead to the go ahead score and the Packers were playing catch up for the rest of the 4th Quarter.

There certainly is no guarantee the Packers could have stopped the Steelers on 3rd and long, but there was a pretty good shot of getting the ball back with a tie score if Capers would have played it a little more aggressively. A constant problem during Dom’s tenure as the Defensive Coordinator has been his passivity on long yardage situations.

While Brett Hundley put together a really nice performance, he certainly would have benefitted from playing in a tie game or with a lead and Green Bay may still be in the playoff hunt.

Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig

7 thoughts on “Packers versus Steelers: The Most Important Play


    1. Well, I definitely didn’t agree with the call. It seemed like a move made out of frustration. I’m not convinced the Steelers weren’t going to score a TD on that drive regardless of field position.

      1. MM always talks, especially when they didn’t have field position. He did not stay true to his words. And you’re exactly correct, how did he equate that Turing into a long drive TD by Steelers? What it definitely shows is that he had little, or no confidence in Capers defense. Tells want it is, yet he’ll defend and keep him as DC.

  2. I agree with the article. Capers always plays soft in long yardage, or his three man rush! Hell they can’t get there with four or a blitz. Typical Capers. They talk about player deveopment. How about the coaches????? Capers must, must, must go!!! Second worst play, 57 yard field goal on that field and with the problems the Pack have had this season with snappers and holders? MM must go too!! He hasn’t developed….

    1. I’m not sure on McCarthy yet (though I’d definitely be open to a total coaching overhaul to set up the last stages of Aaron Rodger’s career). I do think Capers hasn’t adjusted well to the modern game, and struggles against truly great passing attacks that can stretch your defense.

  3. I agree that the play was a turning point. They struggled the entire game with tackling Bell solo.

    1. Tackling seems to be a pretty consistent issue with the Green and Gold. Not sure if that’s a personnel issue or a coaching issue (or probably both).

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