SAN DIEGO: Le’Veon Bell’s one-yard scoring run as time expired lifted the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 24-20 NFL win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
San Diego had grabbed the lead on rookie Josh Lambo’s 54-yard field goal with 2:56 to play.
The Steelers, with quarterback Michael Vick standing in for injured Ben Roethlisberger, then drove 80 yards in 12 plays for the triumph.
On first-and-goal at the San Diego one-yard line with five seconds remaining, Bell took a direct snap and ran to the left.
He managed to stretch out his arms and get the ball over the goal line as he was brought down by Chargers linebacker Donald Butler.
“I’ve got to get it in,” Bell said of what he was thinking on the play.
“We still had a timeout left . . . so I’m thinking, ‘OK, maybe if I get stopped, maybe run like four seconds off and get a timeout and we could kick a field goal.’”
But, Bell added, he didn’t want to give his team a chance to force overtime.
“I wanted to end the game right there,” he said.
Vick, who struggled until the fourth quarter, kept the decisive drive alive with a 24-yard scramble and a 16-yard pass to Heath Miller.
“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” said Vick, who completed 13 of 26 passing attempts for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The defeat spoiled the return of Chargers tight end Antonio Gates from a four-game doping suspension.
Gates caught two touchdown passes to take his career tally to 101—seventh on the all-time receiving TD list.
Tony Gonzalez, sixth on the list with 111, is the only other tight end with at least 100 career TD receptions.