Whatever Smart and his assistants said to their players at halftime needs to be memorialized someplace in Athens.

Harrison, who remains the Steelers’ all-time leader with 80 1/2 career sacks, was cut by Pittsburgh Saturday to make room for tackle Marcus Gilbert’s return but signed with New England following a visit to Gillette Stadum Tuesday. It could make for an interesting reunion if the Steelers and Patriots meet in the AFC Championship game, though Roethlisberger isn’t concerned about potentially shared intel.

My wife and I were talking about it last night, Roethlisberger said Wednesday. She was asking me if he knew our no-huddle stuff. I said I don’t think he knows a lot of it. I’m sure he’s heard some of the same things for a lot of years now so maybe some of it. But that’s a long way off.

James has to do what James has to do. It’s not like he called (and) asked me if he should or not. James was out there as a free agent. He has to do what’s best for his family. I wish him the best. I had a lot of good years with him.

The Steelers and Patriots each secured a bye through to the divisional round, though New England can clinch homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Jets in its regular season finale Sunday.

Smart’s message to his team was clear: They haven’t seen our best. We played 30 minutes, and they haven’t seen our best.

I really just think the emotion in the players settled down, and they played with a little more discipline and a little more passion and energy, Smart said. It wasn’t like there was magic sprinkle dust. We called the same defenses we called in the first half. We just played them better.

Georgia’s defense opened the second half with five straight stops, while Bulldogs tailbacks Nick Chubb and Michel scored on long touchdown runs to tie the score at 31.

There wasn’t any panic, Georgia cornerback Aaron Davis said. We knew what we did in the first half wasn’t us.

Two mistakes by the game’s star performers set the stage for the thrilling finale. First, it was Mayfield, who threw an interception that led to a Georgia touchdown, giving the Bulldogs their first lead.

We got to [Mayfield] in the second half, and it felt good, Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter said. We got him on the ground, and that’s what we wanted to do. You kind of just go into savage mode, and a lot of guys did just that. It was a lot of hungry dudes out there eating.

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