Another week and another game that came down to the opponents last drive. The Steelers held off a late Detroit surge and defeated the Lions, 28-20, today at Ford Field. The Steelers led the Lions by 15 late in the fourth quarter but as has happened so many times this season, the defense gave up a late scoring drive to make it close.
The offense once again had a strong showing as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 30 passes for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns, while spreading the ball to 6 different pass catchers. Wide receiver Hines Ward led all receivers with 7 receptions for 85 yards and caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger with 3:01 left in the half. Tight end Heath Miller chipped in 5 receptions of his own for 54 yards and a touchdown as well.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall made his second consecitive start in place of the injured Willie Parker and carried 15 times for 77 yards. He also ran for the Steelers first touchdown of the day from 7 yards out in the first quarter.
The Lions were hampered early by the loss of wide receiver Calvin Johnson who left the game with a leg injury. Johnson, who was limited during the week due to a thigh injury, went to the sideline midway through the second quarter to be checked on by team trainers and did not return. Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper looked anything but rusty as he threw for 282 yards on the day and carved up the soft areas of the Steelers defense. Dennis Northcutt, who took the place of the injured Johnson, had 5 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on the day.
The Lions were trailing by eight and had the ball on the Steelers 21 with 1:54 to go when the Steelers sacked Culpepper three straight times to seal the victory. Linebacker James Harrison had 7 tackles and 1 assist on the day and recorded 3 of 7 sacks the Steelers tallied on the day.
Injury wise, safety Ryan Clark, guard Trai Essex, linebacker Andre Frazier and linebacker Lawrence Timmons were all dinged during the game, but none of the inuries appear serious at this time.
With the win, the Steelers improved their record to 3-2 on the season and are now tied with the Baltimore Ravens at one game back of division leaders, Cincinnati. The Steelers next week host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Heinz Field.