This is the seventh in a series that looks at 17 plays that shaped the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season – one from every game.
For this series we will go in chronological order.
No, 2: Wide receiver Justin Brown's lost fumble after a 6-yard reception in a 26-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
No. 7: Running back Le’Veon Bell races 43 yards after catching a short pass from Ben Roethlisberger, giving the Steelers a spark they sorely needed.
The setting: The Steelers, just 3-3 after a 21-point loss in Cleveland, fell behind the Houston Texans, 13-0, at Heinz Field. And the home fans started getting restless. Boos rained down as the Steelers’ offense sputtered and the Texans were poised to get the ball back with Pittsburgh facing a third-and-10 at its own 14 yard-line with just under six minutes left in the second quarter.
The play: Bell ran a short crossing pattern and made Texans linebacker Brian Cushing look like he was wearing cement spikes after catching a pass from Roethlisberger. Bell raced 43 yards for a first down and his catch and run set up a Shaun Suisham field goal that got the Steelers on the scoreboard.
What it meant for the bigger picture: The Steelers scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter, including 21 in the last minute and a half to seize control of a game that could not afford to lose. The Steelers went on to beat the Texans, 30-23, and used that as a springboard to back-to-back wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. It’s hard to imagine the Steelers rallying past the Texans if they had punted from deep in their own territory in the second quarter and given Houston a short field. Bell made sure that did not happen with perhaps his biggest play in a season full of them. And the win over the Texans set the Steelers on a path that led to their first AFC North title since 2010.