What's buzzing:

Shutdown Corner

Ben Roethlisberger’s inexplicable interception finishes Steelers’ playoff hopes (VIDEO)

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

When teams are tempted to take a chance late in a game backed up in their own territory, they might remember what Ben Roethlisberger did on Sunday and run out the clock instead.

There just wasn't much good that was going to come out of Roethlisberger rolling right with about 20 seconds left in a tie game against Cincinnati and the Steelers at their own 29. And when Roethlisberger flung up a pass to Mike Wallace that was overthrown, Cincinnati's Reggie Nelson had an easy interception with 14 seconds left on the clock. One A.J. Green reception later, and the Bengals kicked a game-winning field goal to win 13-10 and clinch a playoff berth at the expense of the Steelers, who were officially eliminated with the loss.

[Also: Trevor Pryce: Rex Ryan might be too nice for his own good]

Until the Steelers play another meaningful game, that play-calling sequence will haunt them.

The final minutes of a hard-fought game were filled with questionable decisions, from the Bengals' odd decision to try a 56-yard field goal late, which predictably fell short and gave Pittsburgh good field position, to the Steelers' 53-yard miss which did the same for the Bengals. And yet, when the Bengals punted and Pittsburgh took over at its 11 with 44 seconds left, the Steelers had a pretty easy decision to sit on the ball and play for overtime. Or so it seemed.

[Also: Vikings rookie kicker sets NFL record]

The Steelers tried to win in regulation, and it cost them. Roethlisberger's haphazard pass deep to Wallace was a really bad decision by a seasoned, veteran quarterback. The counter-argument is that Roethlisberger was already being put in a bad spot by a coaching staff that was taking a high-risk gamble when it could have taken its chances in overtime. On the other sideline, the Bengals got a huge win against a divisional foe it had to beat. Since the start of last year, Cincinnati was 0-6 against AFC North top dogs Pittsburgh and Baltimore. With this win, the Bengals are going to the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1981-82.

The Steelers won't be playing past next week. The offseason will be very long in Pittsburgh.

Related NFL video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Darryl Johnston’s sweater wins the holidays
Diamondbacks sign Cody Ross to three-year deal
The top five NBA stories of 2012
Y! News blog: Tales from a mall Santa

View Comments (1486)
  • Brady testimony in NFL 'Deflategate' released

    Brady testimony in NFL 'Deflategate' released

    Tom Brady denied under oath to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that he tampered with footballs before the AFC title game, and investigator Ted Wells said in a transcript that he never warned the New England Patriots quarterback he would be punished … More »

    3 minutes 20 seconds ago
  • Bengals veteran tackles determined to hold onto starting job

    Bengals veteran tackles determined to hold onto starting job

    Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith could see what's next when the Bengals took offensive tackles with their first two picks in the draft. Starting left tackle Whitworth is preparing for his 10th season. When he came to camp as a rookie in 2008, the … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Lions continue negotiating with Levy to keep him beyond 2015

    Lions continue negotiating with Levy to keep him beyond 2015

    DeAndre Levy's career-best production last season has the Detroit Lions hoping to come to an agreement that would keep him with the team beyond 2015. General manager Martin Mayhew confirmed Tuesday that the Lions are still negotiating with the … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Vancouver Canucks sign centre Brandon Sutter to five-year contract extension

    The Vancouver Canucks have signed Brandon Sutter to a five-year contract extension at an average annual value of US$4.375 per season. The club acquired the six-foot-three, 190-pound centre and a third-round pick in 2016 from the Pittsburgh Penguins … More »

    The Canadian Press - 6 minutes ago
  • Gronk happy to have contract settled, ready to play ball

    Rob Gronkowski was asked if he dances his way to the bank with a $4 million New England Patriots' check in his pocket. One of the NFL's most dynamic stars expressed his gratitude toward the Patriots' front office and coach Bill Belichick. … More »

    17 minutes ago