Pittsburgh Steelers Versus Detroit Lions – Second Half Recap

By Matthew Marczi

After jumping out to a 14-0 start, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished the rest of the half losing 27-6 to the Detroit Lions. Matthew Stafford’s balls were sailing early, but after they starting hitting, Detroit’s offense was hard to stop. The Steelers are looking to rebound in the second half, starting with the ball and down a touchdown.

Le’Veon Bell took a pitch three yards for the first play of the half, but he was dropped for a loss of one on second down to set up third and eight. Ben Roethlisberger found Jerricho Cotchery in traffic for the first down. The Lions challenged the ruling of a catch, and the play was overturned, forcing a three-and-out.

Mat McBriar’s first half punts were awful, but he boomed a long one to flip the field, with the Lions starting at their own 12. After a two-yard run and an incomplete pass, the Lions faced an early third and eight. Cameron Heyward batted down the pass to force the three-and-out.

Roethlisberger rushed a pass on first down under pressure, but the Lions were flagged for roughing the passer. Detroit dropped a sure interception in front of Antonio Brown on the next play. Another errant throw on second down put the offense in a bad spot. The incompletion to Miller did give McBriar another chance for a good punt, pinning the Lions at the 12 again.

Stafford came out throwing on first down this time, but the intended receiver dropped the ball. On second down, Reggie Bush tripped forward for a gain of one. Going five wide, the Steelers finally got to Stafford, with Jason Worilds nearly bringing him down for a safety.

The Steelers started the drive at Detroit’s 45, and Jerricho Cotchery came down with a nine-yard gain on first down. Bell worked his way around the perimeter on a pitch for the first down. Roethlisberger found Brown for a 21-yard gain down to the 13. Roethlisberger scrambled for six on first down, but Bell’s reception could only get back to the line of scrimmage.

He took a pass down to the one for the Steelers’ first third-down conversion in their last eight tries, however, to set up first and goal at the one. With Mike Adams in, Bell had nowhere to go on first down. Roethlisberger overthrew a wide open David Paulson on second down. Bell slipped on third down as the Steelers failed to score from within the one, settling for a field goal to make it 27-23.

On their ensuing drive, the Lions were met with very little resistance marching down the field, this despite the stadium playing “Renegade”. They faced third and three to begin the fourth quarter, but Stafford kept the ball and ran for the first down. The Steelers finally were able to come up with a stop, with Ryan Clark helping to double team Calvin Johnson in the end zone. The Lions ran a fake, but the Steelers stripped the ball from the punter to regain possession, albeit deep in their own territory.

The Steelers were looking like they were about to give it right back, but Brown came up with the big catch on third down to get out to the 20. Heath Miller was good for nine yards a play later. On second and one, Bell gained about six up the middle.

With the new set of downs, Roethlisberger scrambled away from pressure and found Miller down the field. That was followed up with a delayed handoff for Bell that lost two yards. Roethlisberger’s subsequent pass was underthrown and likely should have been intercepted. Now facing third and 12 from the Lions’ 46, Roethlisberger rolled to his right and ran up the right sideline to try to get the first down, but was short by nearly two yards. Mike Tomlin elected to go for it, with a reception to Bell converting the fourth down.

Jonathan Dwyer was good for 11 on a reception a play later to get down to the 20. Roethlisberger’s pass was behind Brown on a slant on the ensuing first down. Cotchery escaped a tackle on the next play and nearly got into the end zone, coming up a yard short.

From the one, Brown dropped a floater fading to the right edge of the end zone. Cotchery was -held on second down to give the Steelers another first down at the one, though. Once again on first and goal, the Steelers gave it to Dwyer, their new short-yardage back, who came close to the goal line, but still just short. Will Johnson ran Brown’s route this time, fading to the right of the end zone, and unlike Brown, he held on to the ball for the touchdown to five Pittsburgh a three-point lead. Remember, that drive began at the three after a fake field goal try.

Stafford’s first pass on the subsequent drive fell incomplete when the receiver could not hold on. His receiver dropped his second pass after scrambling to his right to evade pressure. On third and 10, Stafford threw up a prayer that was intercepted by Will Allen and returned deep into Lions territory.

Miller was good for four on first down, and Bell broke a tackle on second down for a new set. They kept it on the ground to grind out some of the clock on first down, but went back to the air on second down on a four-yard reception to Miller, who was knocked out of bounds. On third down, Roethlisberger floated a ball up to Cotchery, who was left wide open for the touchdown to give the Steelers a two-possession lead.

With the Lions now pressing, the Steelers brought the pressure, forcing an incompletion. On third and 10, Stafford threw up a deep pass, but the receiver could not stick with it. William Gay helped influence the incompletion. Stafford did manage to scramble for the first on fourth down.

After a false start, Stafford’s pass near the sideline pulled his receiver out of bounds. His third down pass was defended by Cortez Allen. On fourth and 15, Ziggy Hood dragged Stafford down as he tried to scramble to his right once again, ending the game with a finale of 37-27. The win gives the Steelers a two-game winning streak and an overall record of 4-6, though the Cincinnati Bengals kept pace with their victory over the Cleveland Browns.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Kris Gusto Williams

    My nails are gone

  • Kevin Gobleck

    What a great game, it was so close. just happy we could pull out a close one finally

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Ill be the first to say winners the whole team in second half _losers the whole coaching staff for the lions for not trying to stop their coach for calling that fake fg but great win ben looked like a boss and hats off to the o line only one sack this win has me very impressed!

  • Dom

    Dwyer was Damn good again and Antonio Brown plays hard!

  • Dom

    I think that all the criticism the Lion’s coach will get is going to be harsh. If it worked it killed the game whereas the Field goal wasn’t a game clincher.

  • HopalongCassidy

    There is no sense trying to make any sense of this game. Just accept the win and be thankful for it.

  • Bill Molinaro

    Did I say something bad in my last post? Don’t see it here.

  • Bill Molinaro

    I always wanted Dwyer to get a real shot.

  • Bill Molinaro

    Steelers are going to the Super Bowl! Well, maybe not but I am proud of today’s performance. Hey, is that guy Sue the one in the Johnny Cash song?

  • chris ward

    Steelers win the turnover battle 3 to 0 and win the game. Great game by Will Allen with a forced fumble and a INT.

  • CrazyTerry

    I know we like ot rag on Bilick, But he wa son the money ahead of Lebeau in figuring out that they needed to double Calvin. What Clark did in the 4th Q to break up a pass to Calvin just showed how stubborn the coaching straff was in trusting Ike for too long in the game.

  • CrazyTerry

    I like Bell, but Dwyer is clearly the tougher runner. Dwyer moved forward a couple of inches on a simmilar goalline play where Bell got stuffed for a loss. Points to Haley for not trying to run it on every down at the goalline. If Ben doesnt botch the pass to Paulson, the Steelers score twice in the red zone. Hell, they got a TD despite AB dropping an easy one on the next drive.

  • chris ward

    Great call by Haley to go with the fake bubble screen to put the game away. Cotchery continues to be a beast this season with 7 TD’s this year.

  • John Hinton

    Well-said Hopalong, well-said!

  • John Hinton

    Glad we were able to get Will Allen back and there was a Will Johnson sighting – finally!

  • alex

    gottta love Cotch, sitn around 2 yrs waitn for a role with the steelers, now a stud @ 31

    and Bell w/ 90% of his revieving yards as yacs!

    most everybody playing well, specially those being benched during the season and coming back to play!

    then theres the AFC player of the week, BEN!

  • alex

    yeah, they got the time-out, and were talkin on the side line…


  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    How bout a ziggy sighting with a one handed sack on fourth down

  • Brendon Glad

    “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me right back in…” I was so discouraged at halftime of that game, that I was talking to myself saying “FORCE yourself to only watch them on game-tracker…they don’t deserve you to watch them…”
    And then they do THAT in the second-half. I was born in 1971…so Immaculate reception was not seen by me…but even if it WAS, this game has to be in the conversation for “Weirdest Steelers game in history.”
    I’m happy, but way more flummoxed than I am happy. I swear I’m still just sitting here shaking my head back and forth trying to process this. Weird.

  • Nolrog

    Wow. Whatever they put in the water at half time, they need to do that at the beginning of games.

  • Superdriller316

    Its great that the Steelers Defense put up GOOSE EGGES in the second half.

  • alex

    wow, just about everybody we wanted to lose today, did…

    now theres like 16 teams fighting for that one W/C spot in the AFC…

  • Riverstko

    Very Intense game but i’ve seen more intense games Proud Steelers Fan since 78!

  • Brendon Glad

    I gotta admit, I’ve been pretty negative on this 2013 Steelers team. They drive me nuts, quite frankly.
    But, in the aftermath of this strange game, the Webster’s Football Dictionary definition of “rollercoaster ride”…I need to be positive And…
    A) I loved how Ben Roethlisberger responded to this very rough week on the National Football Media front. He’s one of my favorite Steelers of all-time, and so I LOVED his demeanor during the week, and then his play on the field.
    B) I thought Todd Haley, Ben Roethlisberger, or both (not sure how that no-huddle thing works) called a tremendous game. The short passing game which can at times annoy us all, was huge in the first quarter, he had a couple of beautiful touchdown calls in the middle which simply weren’t executed by the players, and the fourth qtr was excellent in calling and execution.
    C) That Steelers Special-teams unit…(one of my favorite targets of angst)…once again had a chance to blow the game (just like in the Baltimore game/surprise onside-kick), this time when Scwartz called the fake FG…and instead, they were alert, stopped it, and exactly like the Baltimore game, changed the momentum of the game. Great job, FG defense unit!!!
    D) Whoever said what, whatever adjustments were made, however it happened in that locker room….rarely does one see a defensive turnaround like that against a great offense from one half to the other. So however that happened, MAJOR credit is deserved.

  • Brendon Glad

    Good point. As Steelers fans we know very well that games can be lost by us on Special Teams. It’s historical for what 40-80 years? So the call by Schwartz probably had merit.
    I’m just proud of Smith and his unit…because they have had 2 MAJOR opportunities to blow games (the Harbaugh surprise onsides, and this fake FG…and both times, by being alert, they not only DIDN’T BLOW the game, but it could be argued that both times they CHANGED the momentum of the game.
    And by God, as a person who has complained about Steelers special-teams for nearly all of my adult life…I’ll TAKE IT. Good job guys!!!!

  • T R

    Another key to this game was Suh name was not called… he didn’t get to Ben, I think he was on sideline some but he did play and OL kept him contained…

  • Chad H

    Love the win. Still need o-line to run the ball. Surprised they only sacked Ben once because the second the ball was snapped there was immediate penetration by the Lions the entire game.

  • Tom Savastano

    Great 2nd half, every week is a payoff game to me for the rest of the year.. keep winnin!