OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Steelers got to unwrap a couple presents early this year ... and man, did they wind up being useful.
In Week 14 NFL action during the early Sunday games, the Dolphins stunned the Patriots on the final play, 34-33, in Miami, with one of the moments of the year in all of professional sports.
Trailing by five points with with seven seconds left, the Dolphins dialed up some desperation lateral action ... and it actually worked. Ryan Tannehill chucked a pass to Kenny Stills, who quickly flipped the ball to DeVante Parker. From there, the play looked dead until Parker offloaded to Kenyan Drake, who exploded through a seam in the defense and torched Rob Gronkowski for six.
The victory moved the Dolphins to 7-6 and the Patriots to 9-4, with the latter coming to Heinz Field next Sunday.
Meanwhile in Kansas City, the Chiefs were busy rallying past the Ravens, 27-24, in overtime.
With a chance for the Chiefs to win the game in regulation sailing wide right, the game went to overtime, where Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker redeemed himself with a field goal, and the defense took it from there. The Chiefs clinched a playoff berth with the victory.
The loss moved the Ravens to 7-6 and kept them from closing any ground on the Steelers, now 7-5-1 after losing here to the Raiders, 24-21.
Mike Tomlin said afterward he hadn't yet known about the earlier games.
“I’m not really aware of that," he said, "to be quite honest with you.”
That was true of most of the players, as well, as they had to take the field at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for pregame warmups and the national anthem just as those games were ending.
The rest of the Steelers' schedule:
The Patriots, of course, have won the past five meetings, including playoffs. The Saints clinched the NFC South Sunday with a 28-14 victory over the Buccaneers and are 11-2. The Bengals fell to 5-8 with a 26-21 loss to the Chargers.
Barring collapse, the Chiefs, Chargers and Patriots will make the playoffs. For the other three spots, though, chaos reigns: The Ravens, Colts, Titans, and Dolphins are all 7-6, the Steelers are 7-5-1, and even the Broncos are still breathing at 6-7.
The clearest playoff path for the Steelers, naturally, is to reclaim the AFC North. The Ravens close out against the 5-8 Buccaneers, the Chargers and the 5-7-1 Browns.
MATT SUNDAY GALLERY
[caption id="attachment_735059" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Steelers at Raiders, Oakland, Calif., Dec. 9, 2018 - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]