What Went Right, Wrong vs. Lions

* The Lions faced a fourth-and-3 at the Pittsburgh 31-yard line, the decision was made to go for it because PK David Akers hasn't been having a great season and the attempt would have been into Heinz Field's open end zone. Matthew Stafford's quick slant pass for Calvin Johnson was incomplete, with Ike Taylor in tight coverage.

  • After taking over on downs for their first possession of the game, the Steelers opened the game in the no-huddle. During that drive, which spanned 68 yards in eight plays, Ben Roethlisberger completed 5-of-5 for 61 yards, including the 34-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, and the Steelers were 2-for-2 on third downs.
  • The Steelers remained in the no-huddle offense for their second possession, and it again ended in the Lions end zone with an Antonio Brown touchdown. The first Brown touchdown came after he broke tackles by CB Chris Houston and S Glover Quin. This time it was a 64-yard catch-and-run where Brown raced away from the Detroit defensive backs and got into the end zone with the help of a block by Emmanuel Sanders. Touchdowns on their opening two possession was a first for the Steelers this season.
  • There was the potential for a Steelers' takeaway on the game's opening possession on a fumble by Reggie Bush, but the runner was ruled down by contact. This time, with 12:41 remaining in the second quarter, the Steelers got the takeaway on another fumble by Bush. Will Allen came up and forced the fumble that Lawrence Timmons recovered and returned 29 yards to the Lions 32-yard line.
  • In the first couple of minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lions had moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 10-yard line with what appeared to be an easy chance to extend their 27-23 lead. With David Akers lined up to attempt a 28-yard field goal, the Lions instead opted for a fake. Holder Sam Martin took the snap and ran up the middle, where he was stripped of the ball by Steve McLendon. Ryan Clark recovered at the Steelers 3-yard line.
  • Three plays after Clark's fumble recovery, the Steelers faced a third-and-9 from their own 4-yard line. Behind solid pass protection, Ben Roethlisberger threw a strike to Antonio Brown for 16 yards and a first down.
  • The drive continued. On a fourth-and-2 from the Detroit 36-yard line, Roethlisberger converted with a quick pass into the right flat to Le'Veon Bell.
  • The drive continued. On a second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis was flagged for pass interference on a pass intended for Jerricho Cotchery in the end zone. A fresh set of downs from inside the 1-yard line.
  • On the third play after the Steelers had taken the lead on a 1-yard pass to Will Johnson, the Lions faced a third-and-10 from their own 20-yard line. Targeting Calvin Johnson for just the third time in the second half, Matthew Stafford's throw was off target and Will Allen intercepted for the Steelers. His 27-yard return gave the Steelers the ball at the Lions 34-yard line.
  • On a fourth-and-15 from the Lions 29-yard line with 1:46 to play, and with Cameron Heyward forced to the sideline because he lost a shoe, Ziggy Hood broke through to sack Matthew Stafford and ice the outcome.

WHAT WENT WRONG * The Lions converted their initial third down situation with a 17-yard catch-and-run by Reggie Bush. At the end of the play, the ball appeared to come out and be recovered by Will Allen, only to have line judge Byron Boston rule that the runner was down by contact. But sensing the Steelers might be thinking about challenging the play, the Lions lined up and quickly snapped the ball. Even though it was only a 2-yard gain by Bush, it prevented the Steelers from challenging and possibly having the call on the field overturned.

  • A third-and-6 became a third-and-11 from the Lions 45-yard line after Kelvin Beachum was flagged for a false start.
  • The Steelers's offense came into the game ranked 28th in the NFL in red zone efficiency, and their woes at that spot on the field continued in the first half against the Lions. Following the fumble recovery/return by Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers moved to a first down at the Detroit 11-yard line. But after a short run by Le'Veon Bell and a couple of incomplete passes, the Steelers settled for a 25-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham. On their next offensive possession, the Steelers again moved into the red zone, with the big play being a 43-yard catch-and-run by Le'Veon Bell. But when Heath Miller was unable to maintain possession of the ball through a catch in the end zone, the Steelers again settled for a field goal. Instead of having 28 points to that point in the game, the Steelers only had 20.
  • Mixed in among these red zone failures were some breakdowns by the defense as well. With the Steelers holding a 17-3 lead, the Lions halved that margin in a span of 18 seconds. On a play where Matthew Stafford did a half-roll to his right, Jason Worilds slipped slightly on the wet grass to give the quarterback the time to fire a strike to Calvin Johnson, who broke a tackle by Ike Taylor at the Steelers 35-yard line and finished the play for a 79-yard touchdown.
  • It was a rough first half for Ike Taylor. In addition to drawing the coverage on Calvin Johnson on virtually every snap of a half in which Megatron caught six passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, Taylor also had two Matthew Stafford passes hit him right in the chest, and he dropped them both. After the first interception-that-wasn't, the Lions went on to score a touchdown. After the second, they kicked a field goal.
  • The Steelers received the second half kickoff, and on a third-and-8 Ben Roethlisberger delivered a laser to Jerricho Cotchery, who appeared to make the catch and hold onto the ball for a 16-yard gain. But as the Steelers rushed to the line of scrimmage to get off the next play before the Lions could see a replay, Coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag and the play was overturned on replay. The Steelers punted.
  • It was a new level of red zone failure in the final five minutes of the third quarter. After a Le'Veon Bell took a short pass and ran it for a first down at the Lions' 1-yard line, the Steelers lined up quickly and drew Detroit offside, which moved the ball nearly to the goal line. Over the next three plays, two runs lost yardage and Ben Roethlisberger missed a wide open David Paulson in the end zone. Instead of tying the game, the Steelers still trailed, 27-23, after the field goal.
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