The radical swings that occurred in the late stages of the Patriots’ dramatic 27-24 win over the Steelers were hard to keep track of. Yet as he has done so often in his NFL career, New England safety Duron Harmon’s contribution was the definitive one.
Harmon’s end zone interception of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with five seconds remaining sealed a crucial win for the Patriots:
— NFL (@NFL) December 18, 2017
The last-gasp interception reminded many Patriots fans of Malcolm Butler’s goal-line play in Super Bowl XLIX.
And even though it wasn’t Butler who made the decisive play this time around, he still played a vital role. One play before Harmon’s interception, his tackle to keep Steelers receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey inbounds kept the clock running:
Malcolm Butler is a tremendous tackler. This play set them up to win the game. Shouldn't get overlooked. pic.twitter.com/DUvO2ycdoh
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) December 18, 2017
This forced the Steelers into a rushed decision regarding whether to spike the ball or not. As Roethlisberger explained after the game, he was told not to spike it, and proceeded to try and pass (resulting in the game-ending interception).
Afterward, Dion Lewis was asked about having “called” Harmon’s pick before it happened:
Dion Lewis called Harmon’s game-winning pick. pic.twitter.com/4OvqL8LjLZ
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) December 18, 2017