Sunday, November 17, 2013

Steelers Defeat Lions to Improve to 4-6

Antonio Brown on his way to a first-quarter touchdown.
(photo credit: Gene Puskar, AP)
It was a tale of two halves.

After allowing the Detroit Lions 27 points and nearly 400 yards in the first half, the Steelers' defense yielded zero points and only 72 yards throughout the entire second half.

Somebody made adjustments. The offense came to life, too.  In the fourth quarter, Ben Roethlisberger completed 10 of 13 passes, including two touchdowns.

On the day, Roethlisberger was 29-45 for 367 yards passing, four touchdowns and, most crucially no turnovers. No interceptions; no fumbles; just one sack taken. He operated out of the no-huddle much of the day and seemed extremely comfortable doing it. For all we know, he called his own plays all day.

On the other side, Matt Stafford threw an interception, Detroit lost two fumbles, and the Steelers had two sacks (by Jason Worilds and Ziggy Hood).

The Turning Point: "Either a Lot of Faith or No Respect"
Early in the fourth quarter, on 4th and five and with a chance to increase a four-point lead to seven, Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz either showed a lot of faith in his defense or no respect to the Steelers' offense when he called for a fake field goal that ended with the Steelers taking over the ball at their own three-yard line. Sixteen plays, eight minutes and 97 yards later, the Steelers had taken the lead and the momentum.

For the day, the Steelers won time of possession (32:16) and had just four penalties for 23 yards.

Antonio Brown's second TD in the first half.
Although the offensive line had trouble opening holes for the running backs, kudos to them for protecting Roethlisberger.  The Lions took him down for just one sack.

Antonio Brown had seven catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Detroit's Calvin Johnson had six catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

As for the running game, there is room for improvement. The Steelers managed just four first downs rushing. As a team, the Steelers managed just 1.5 yards per carry (40 yards net rushing) on 27 rushing attempts. Running back Le'Veon Bell had little running room and gained just 36 yards on 18 carries.

For the record, Detroit doesn't play in Pittsburgh very often but still hasn't won in the Steel City since 1955. The so-called Curse of Bobby Layne continues.

All in all, a good day. Next game: At Cleveland.

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