Saints narrowly upend Steelers and take top NFC seed

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after a touchdown carry by running back Alvin Kamara, not pictured, in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees capped a 326-yard passing performance with 2-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas with 1:25 left, and the New Orleans Saints clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a 31-28 victory over Pittsburgh that dealt a significant blow to the Steelers’ playoff hopes.

Alvin Kamara gained 105 yards from scrimmage and ran for two touchdowns for New Orleans (13-2), which rallied for the lead after two defensive stops in the fourth quarter. New Orleans ended one Steelers drive when Kurt Coleman forced Stevan Ridley’s fumble and ended another by narrowly thwarting a fake punt.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards and three touchdowns for the Steelers (8-6-1), connecting 14 times with Antonio Brown for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh fell into second in the AFC North behind Baltimore and out of playoff position.

Pittsburgh drove into field goal range on its final drive, but JuJu Schuster fumbled when he was stripped by defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins as the receiver landed on top of his tackler. Linebacker Demario Davis recovered.

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