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Steelers take advantage of bumbling Colts

Pittsburgh's Benny Snell Jr. bounces into the end zone for the game-deciding score.Dylan Buell/Getty

Benny Snell Jr.’s 2-yard touchdown run with 9:55 left gave Pittsburgh the lead and the Steelers fended off a last-minute comeback bid to beat the host Indianapolis Colts, 24-17, on Monday night.

Snell had 12 carries for a season-high 62 yards after replacing the injured Najee Harris in the third quarter. Harris was ruled out at halftime with an abdominal injury.

Pittsburgh (4-7) won its eighth straight in the series and matched San Francisco for the most Monday night victories in league history (52). The 49ers had edged in front with last week’s victory over Arizona in Mexico City.

Matt Ryan drove the Colts (4-7-1) into position to score, but Indy let a minute run off the clock in a span of three plays in Steelers territory, finally using its first timeout on fourth down with 30 seconds remaining. Ryan then threw incomplete to Parris Campbell on fourth and 3 from the Steelers 26 and Indianapolis fell to 1-2 under interim coach Jeff Saturday.

It was the Colts’ first home Monday night game since September 2015 and the first half was a dud.

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Pittsburgh drove into Indianapolis territory on all five possessions and produced three field goals and Harris’s 6-yard TD run to take a 16-3 lead.

The Colts got a spark when rookie Dallis Flowers returned the opening kickoff of the second half 90 yards. Four plays later, Jonathan Taylor scored on a 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 16-10.

The Colts drove to the Steelers’ 1-yard line on their next possession, but Ryan and Taylor botched a handoff and Pittsburgh recovered. Indianapolis then forced a three-and-out and Ryan threw a 6-yard TD pass to Michael Pittman to give Indianapolis a 17-16 lead late in the third quarter.

It didn’t last long. Pittsburgh answered with Snell’s scoring run and a 2-point conversion pass from Kenny Pickett to George Pickens made it 24-17.

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Pickett was 20 of 28 with 174 yards and no turnovers for Pittsburgh. Ryan threw for 199 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Chiefs adding Melvin Gordon

Kansas City Chiefs are signing two-time Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon to their practice squad, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press, adding some much-needed depth with a player that was recently released from the AFC West rival Denver Broncos.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the signing was not yet official.

Gordon was cut by the Broncos last week amid fumble problems that plagued the 2015 first-round pick during his time in Denver. While he ran for 318 yards and caught 25 passes for 223 yards in 10 starts, averaging 3.5 yards per carry, Gordon also fumbled five times in 10 games, including a costly one in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Gordon is headed for Kansas City.Justin Edmonds/Getty

Gordon has lost the ball 26 times in 108 games, or about once in every four games.

The Chiefs still have to play the Broncos twice in their final six games, when they are trying to maintain their grasp on the AFC’s top seed and lone playoff bye. Whatever information Gordon can provide on new coach Nathaniel Hackett’s system, and the rest of the struggling Broncos, will only help them down the stretch.

They were in need of some depth at running back with Clyde Edwards-Helaire out with a high ankle sprain. Seventh-round draft pick Isiah Pacheco carried 22 times for 69 yards and a touchdown against the Rams.

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Gordon will start off on the practice squad while he learns enough of the offense to contribute on game day. That’s unlikely to happen in time to face the Bengals on Sunday in Cincinnati, but it could be in time for — you guessed it — the Broncos in primetime on Dec. 11 in Denver.

Aaron Rodgers feeling better, hopes to play on

Aaron Rodgers wants to keep playing through his growing list of injuries as long as the struggling Green Bay Packers still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs.

The Packers’ postseason hopes remain alive, if only in the technical sense, after a 40-33 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday dropped their record to 4-8. Rodgers, already playing with a broken right thumb, left with injured ribs in the second half.

“I know he’s feeling better today,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think we’ll know more in the next couple of days.”

LaFleur said the Packers planned to continue relying on Rodgers if the four-time MVP is healthy enough to play.

“Aaron’s the starting quarterback,” LaFleur said. “He’s battled through a lot throughout the course of his career. It’s pretty well documented and I think he’s been able to play at a pretty high level through a lot of different situations. So again, we’ll take it one game at a time and make the best decision moving forward.”

Green Bay’s 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, who has made just one career start, looked better than he had in any of his other sporadic appearances Sunday, going 6 of 9 for 113 yards and finding Christian Watson for a 63-yard touchdown.

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Wirfs, Bucs escape with high ankle sprain

An injury suffered by Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Pro offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs during an overtime loss in Cleveland is not as serious as the team initially feared.

“He’s got a high ankle sprain,” coach Todd Bowles said, adding that while Wirfs is almost certain to sit out next Monday’s home game against New Orleans, the third-year pro could be in play to return at some point down the stretch for the NFC South leaders, who are just 5-6. “So we’ll see how it goes week to week.”

Wirfs, seen here being carted off the field in the second half of Sunday's game, could return sooner rather than later.Ron Schwane/Associated Press

With Wirfs out, the Bucs are down to one starter remaining from a year ago — left tackle Donovan Smith — in the line protecting Tom Brady. Sunday’s loss was Tampa Bay’s fourth to a team that’s currently three games or worse under .500, including the Browns (4-7).

Bears take another hit, lose Darnell Mooney for season

A handful of players joined quarterback Justin Fields on the sidelines with injuries in Chicago’s loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said wide receiver Darnell Mooney needs ankle surgery and will be lost for the rest of the season. Chicago is still having safety Eddie Jackson’s foot injury evaluated, but in the midst of a 3-9 season — and a five-game losing streak — the last thing the Bears need is to lose more players.

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Mooney is the Bears’ leading receiver with 40 receptions, while Jackson went into Sunday’s game with a team-high four interceptions, tied for third in the NFL.

Besides Mooney and Jackson, the Bears lost right tackles Riley Reiff (shoulder) and Larry Borom (ankle). Receivers Equanimeous St. Brown and Chase Claypool had minor injuries Eberflus didn’t want to reveal, and are day to day.

Eberflus said Fields remains day to day with a shoulder separation.

Aaron Donald joins injured Rams with ankle sprain

Seven-time All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald sprained his ankle in the Rams’ fifth consecutive loss, coach Sean McVay said. Los Angeles believes the injury is a high ankle sprain, which often requires multiple weeks of recovery, meaning Donald may be forced to miss a game due to injury for the first time in his nine-year NFL career. “He’s still meeting with the doctors and getting the necessary scans,” McVay said. “On Wednesday, when we reconvene, I’ll have a little bit more information” . . . San Francisco running back Elijah Mitchell sprained the MCL in his right knee Sunday in New Orleans, coach Kyle Shanahan said, with the team expecting him to miss 6-8 weeks. Mitchell sprained his left knee in the opener, not returning until Week 10. Christian McCaffrey is expected to pick up some of the slack in Mitchell’s absence, but is dealing with what Shanahan called “knee irritation.” The team plans to manage him during the week . . . Rookie Minnesota cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. had knee surgery to repair meniscus damage and will be sidelined indefinitely, coach Kevin O’Connell announced. Booth is likely to land on injured reserve, meaning he’d have to miss at least four weeks . . . Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he spoke with Lamar Jackson about the star quarterback’s profane postgame tweet directed at a fan a day earlier, saying the language Jackson used was out of character. After the Ravens lost to Jacksonville, a fan suggested Baltimore let Jackson leave via free agency. Jackson responded — in a tweet that was later deleted — by saying the person “never smelt a football field” and using vulgar language that members of the gay community said was offensive. “Not once have I ever mentioned or disrespect anyone’s Sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, Religion or Race,” Jackson shot back in another message.