PITTSBURGH — Louis Murphy caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski with nine seconds remaining, his second score in the final 5 1/2 minutes, and the Oakland Raiders scored three late touchdowns to stun Pittsburgh 27-24 on Sunday and deal the Steelers their fourth consecutive loss.
The Steelers (6-6), in danger of missing the playoffs after winning the Super Bowl for a second time in four seasons, went ahead 24-20 on Ben Roethlisberger's 11-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward with 1:56 remaining, only to have the Raiders (4-8) rally and win it.
Pittsburgh, seemingly in good position to secure a high seed in the AFC playoffs after starting 6-2, has lost to two of the NFL's worst teams in the last three weeks, the Chiefs (3-9) and the Raiders.
They now have no chance to catch the Bengals (9-3) in the AFC North, with three games remaining and Cincinnati owning the tiebreaker.
It was the fifth time in six losses that the Steelers couldn't hold a lead in the fourth quarter — and, in this one, they led three times in the final quarter at 10-6, 17-13 and 24-20.
After three quarters in which there was little scoring — the Steelers led 10-6 at the end of three — and long stretches of inactivity, the fourth quarter suddenly become a back-and-forth duel between revived offenses in which the lead changed five times in the final 8 1/2 minutes.