Late First-Half Stand Was A Momentum-Builder

By Matthew Marczi

After the Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a blistering start against the Detroit Lions, with wide receiver Antonio Brown going for two long touchdowns to finish off Pittsburgh’s first two drives of the game, they were forced to withstand a torrid attack in the second quarter that completely reshaped the game.

When the onslaught began, the Steelers were leading 17-3, but by the time it ended, the Lions were up 27-20, scoring all 27 in the second quarter, and they did so without the aid of turnovers.

Matthew Stafford first hit Calvin Johnson for a 79-yard catch-and-run into the end zone following a missed tackle by Ike Taylor. Stafford found Johnson again on a 19-yard pass to culminate a five-play, 74-yard drive, and then Joique Bell found the end zone from two yards out late in the half.

It could have been worse, however. The Lions nearly put another touchdown on the board just before halftime, but the defense came up big at the goal line to gain some momentum heading into the second half.

I don’t know that the game would have gone differently if the Lions capped the second quarter with another seven rather than three, considering the Steelers won by 10, but it certainly felt meaningful at the time that they entered halftime trailing by seven rather than 11.

Considering all three plays took place from the one, it does seem more impressive, but when you consider that the Lions elected not to run on any down despite still having a timeout, maybe you can question the playcalling some as well.

The Lions tried a quick slant on first down, but William Gay did his job, staying in front of the receiver and getting a tip on the ball to knock it out of reach. The throw is good. The defense is just better.

Stafford thought he could get a quick pass off to Reggie Bush on second down, lined up wide to the right. But Taylor read the play perfectly and became the receiver on this pass, nearly coming up with the interception. For good measure, Troy Polamalu laid Bush out just to prove that he wouldn’t have scored even if he caught the ball.

Cameron Heyward came up with the pass deflection on third down. The pass deflection. Not the batted ball. As in he dropped back into coverage. He actually looked pretty athletic doing it too. He’s gotten to five balls so far this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls one in soon.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Callentown

    (This is off topic but I don’t see another article to put this on)

    While we all see how great Calvin Johnson is, the efforts Ike made at tackling him seem way below the line. Yeah, he’s a big guy. Yep, he’s strong.

    So, Ike, why would you try to tackle him up high??? That long TD didn’t have to be as long, or a TD.

    Very good player (IKE). LOTS of weaknesses too.

    Here’s hoping we draft a CB in round 2..

  • steeltown

    …and another one in the 5th or 6th Rd

  • steeltown

    Really good Defensive stand

  • Dom

    Hawthorne though …..

  • steeltown


  • Callentown

    Hawthorne was cut and is not on the practice squad.

  • Callentown

    Ha, I’m only half kidding when I say this:
    First: LT
    Second: CB
    Third thru end: O-Linemen

    Seems we need several more lineman than most teams

  • steeltown

    To be honest, with Pouncey coming back next year we have solid interior depth, they’d be dumb not to sign Velasco to backup Pouncey and OG, we really only need a stud LT…. ha, I say “only” like its an easy task haha

  • Callentown

    But, since this team loses a bunch of lineman every year, it seems like we need a single back-up for each and every O-line position. Instead of carrying 8 – 10, we need around 15 solid O-lineman to get thru a season (kidding).

    And it would be great if some were also good at it 😉

  • RMSteeler

    Take the 4 senior OL from Stanford.

  • charles

    Missed opportunities usually come back to haunt you. I have not heard a plausible explanation of either Detroit’s problem or what LeBeau and Lake did differently in the second half, but the Steelers played playoff caliber football for 30 minutes. The timing could not have been better. We are more built for bad weather, the SB is being played in New York and the Almanac is predicting a blizzard.