December 17, 2017 - The battle for the AFC's No. 1 seed lived up to the hype. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots walked into the hostile stadium of the Pittsburgh Steelers and strutted out with a 27-24 win. Pittsburgh had controlled much of the game, until the final three minutes, when the Pats marched down the field twice on the back of Rob Gronkowski to finish on an 11-0 run.

The Steelers got the ball back with 52 seconds and a timeout, down a field goal. On their first play, Ben Roethlisberger threw a short crossing route to Juju Smith-Schuster, who broke a tackle down the sideline and ran for 69 yards down to the Patriot's 10-yard line.

They would use their final timeout following this play.

Goal-line controversy

With 34 seconds left to play, Roethlisberger threw what appeared to be a touchdown to tight end, Jesse James, to take a 30-24 lead with an extra point attempt to follow. Initially, it was believed that the officials were reviewing whether James was touched down as he crossed the plane since he had a knee down with the ball around the half-yard line. He had not been touched down and it appeared as though the ruling on the field of a touchdown would be confirmed.

After extensive review, it was concluded that James did not maintain control of the ball as he made contact with the ground in a scenario which has become famous over the past few years popularized by Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and former Lions pro-bowler Calvin Johnson. It was deemed that when the player extended the ball toward the goal line, the ball became momentarily dislodged and was ruled an incomplete pass, therefore bringing back the touchdown.

The next play was a short gain of three yards on a pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Pittsburgh would attempt a fake spike with nine seconds on the clock as Roethlisberger threw a slant into heavy coverage intended for Eli Rogers that was tipped and picked off by Duron Harmon to end the game.

Gronk rescues win for the Patriots

Rob Gronkowski was once again the deciding factor for New England. His 6'6", 265-pound frame is simply too large for cornerbacks to contain while his sub 4.7 seconds 40-speed is too fast for linebackers, which makes him virtually uncoverable.

In the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon, he tallied three catches for 69 yards and caught the two-point conversion which put the Patriots three points ahead with just 52 seconds left to play. He finished the game with nine catches for 168 yards.