It was a tale of two halves; or at least a tale of 3 quarters and 1 quarter in the Steelers 37-27 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Steelers owned the beginning of the game as they jumped out to an early 14-0 first quarter lead. The early scoring was courtesy of two Antonio Brown touchdown receptions. Brown, put on a spectacular performance as he netted seven receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
Not to be outdone by Brown, Megatron, the Lions top receiver and quite frankly best receiver in the league led a furious Detroit comeback in the 2nd quarter. Megatron posted six catches for 179 yards and two scores (both in the second quarter) in a 27 point second quarter barrage by the Detroit offense.
The 2nd quarter performance by the Lions looked like it might be heading to a record day, one rivaling the Patriots display two weeks prior. Matt Stafford had over 300 yards passing by halftime and the offense was pacing for over 700 total yards. The defense was unable to get to Stafford, unable to stop the run and extremely unable to prevent Megatron from catching the ball. By halftime many folks surely thought this game was Detroit’s to lose. To add to that mindset, the offense only managed two field goals in the 2nd quarter and failed to convert red zone trips into touchdowns. At halftime it was 27-20 Detroit.
It was hard to imagine a game that looked so good to start having such a bleak outlook in just 15 short minutes.
A large defensive standoff in the third made it a 27-23 game heading into the final quarter and that’s when the Steelers manned up and showed some courage, some heart, some bravado against the Lions, who looked scared and intimidated. The Steelers put the clamps on defensively and shut the Lions out in the 2nd half, causing Matt Stafford to go 0-10 in the 4th quarter on his pass attempts.
They recorded 2 turnovers late in the game, sacked Stafford twice and played with urgency and fire in their guts.
The offense put together a late 97 yard touchdown drive after a fumble recovery and made up for failing to punch it in the quarter prior when having a 1st and goal inside the 1. Minutes later, they scored another TD to ice the game.
On this day, the Steelers played the way they needed to. The flaws are still there and evident, but when you don’t turn the ball over and you score 37 points, some things can be overcome or at least overlooked for a week.
The team is still 4-6 and has a long way to go if they want to be relevant but a win is a win and these days there’s no complaining how you get there.
NEWS, NOTES, SUPERLATIVES:
Offensive Game Ball: Big Ben-He was incredible once again throwing for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns. His commitment and leadership should not be questioned as he didn’t let this team give up.
Defensive Game Ball: Jason Worilds- Worilds had 8 tackles, a sack and four QB hits. He was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side of the ball and is starting to come into his own now that he is a full time starter in front of Jarvis Jones.
Still Questionable: Why Jonathan Dwyer doesn’t get more carries. He is the best runner on the team; he brings energy and speed and wants it more than anyone else. Bell is not performing up to expectations and it’s time for Dwyer to get more carries.
Needs the ball more: Jerricho Cotchery-He now has 7 touchdown receptions, a career high. He is no worse than a number 3 receiver and could easily be a number 2.
Injury Notes: Brett Keisel, Lamar Woodley and Ramon Foster didn’t play. Emmanuel Sanders left with a foot injury.
Next up: 4-6 Steelers at 4-6 Browns