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Hodges, Johnson power Steelers past Cardinals


Rookie Devlin "Duck" Hodges passed for 152 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Diontae Johnson had both Pittsburgh scores as the Steelers continued their late-season run with a 23-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Johnson's 85-yard punt return in the first quarter helped Pittsburgh to a 10-0 lead, and his 2-yard scoring reception from Hodges moved the lead back to 10 late in the third quarter. The Steelers won their third straight and seventh in the last eight to maintain a tiebreaker edge over Tennessee for the final AFC wild-card spot.

Arizona rookie Kyler Murray passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns, but he had his first career three-interception game, the final one coming on a desperation pass over the middle on fourth-and-17 with 36 seconds remaining.

David Johnson and Charles Clay had touchdown catches for Arizona, with Johnson's 24-yard scoring reception getting the Cardinals within 20-17 with 6:44 remaining.

Hodges then drove the Steelers 77 yards in 11 plays, eating up 5:02 of the clock, to set up Chris Boswell's 25-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining. The Cardinals used all of their timeouts on that drive and were forced to scramble on their last possession.

Boswell also made 30- and 37-yard field goals.

Pittsburgh had 140 yards rushing and averaged 4.0 per carry in the return of center Maurkice Pouncey, who missed the last two games while serving a suspension for his part in a brawl in the Cleveland game Nov. 14. The Steelers have rushed for 100 yards in a season-high three straight games.

Hodges, making his third career start, finished 16 of 19, and he also rushed for 34 yards as the Steelers had 275 yards. The Cardinals had 236 yards, a week after accumulating only 198 in a 34-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Steelers scored on their first possession on Boswell's 30-yard field goal to cap a 13-play, 66-yard drive. Johnson's 85-yard punt return came four plays later, after the Cardinals failed to get a first down.

The Cardinals reached the Steelers' 3-yard line after taking over on a fumble, but Murray was sacked for an 8-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 4, forcing a Zane Gonzalez 30-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Murray's 5-yard touchdown pass to Clay tied it at 10 with 1:51 left in the first half before Boswell's 37-yard field goal made it 13-10 as the half expired.

--Field Level Media

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