JuJu Smith-Schuster Puts Steelers On His Bike, Pedal To Victory In 20-15 Win Over Lions

Martavis Bryant who? JuJu Smith-Schuster made sure the absence of Bryant was less than noticeable after a record setting day filling in for the troubled receiver. The rookie receiver recorded the longest pass play in Pittsburgh Steelers’ history, scoring a 97-yard touchdown in the third quarter to help lead the Steelers to a 20-15 victory over the Detroit Lions. Smith-Schuster finished the game with 7 receptions for a whopping 193 yards.

Smith-Schuster, the youngest player in the NFL today, started off as strong as he finished, as on the first play from scrimmage the rookie receiver snatched a 41-yard grab from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. And just like he started, Smith-Schuster closed out the victory with a shovel pass reception on 3rd and one to close out the game. The rookie wide receiver also helped cover for many of the Steelers’ first half mistakes with his incredible performance.

Missed opportunities plagued the Steelers’ progress early in this game as the Mike Tomlin led team could not finish drives in opposing territory. Eli Rogers dropped an easy touchdown in the back corner of the end zone on the team’s first drive, forcing the Steelers to settle for three instead of seven. On the Steelers next opportunity in Detroit territory, Roethlisberger threw an errand pass into triple coverage that fell into the hands of Lions’ defensive back Glover Quin. Le’Veon Bell joined in on the action, fumbling the football deep in Lions’ territory before the half. A rare mistake for Bell, as the fumble was just the third of his career.

Though the Steelers’ offense was careless with execution, their defense would not break, weathering the aftermath of the offense’s struggles. The Steelers defense were able to hold the Lions to just five field goals and even chipped in with two crucial goal line stands.

The first came early in the third quarter and directly led to Smith-Schuster’s 97-yard touchdown grab. The second came with two minutes remaining in the game with the Lions facing another fourth and goal. Though Matthew Stafford was able to shred the Steelers three man pass rush for over 400 yards passing, the three man rush finally broke through on fourth and goal. Javon Hargrave was able to penetrate the pocket, causing an incomplete pass from Stafford.

The Steelers’ defense also was gifted a turnover midway during the fourth quarter as Lions’ receiver Golden Tate fumbled the football right into the hands of cornerback Artie Burns. Though the Steelers’ defense may have not looked pretty on the box score, the unit held on for a nail biting victory.

On offense, wide receiver Antonio Brown had a quiet game by his own standards, recording five receptions for 70 yards and was flagged for offensive pass interference, which shaved a touchdown off the scoreboard. The thunder to Brown’s lightning, Bell enjoyed a decent performance, rushing for over 75 yards and adding a rushing touchdown. Bell’s greatest play came perhaps not on a run but on an impressive pass block which set up his rushing touchdown. On a play prior to his score, Bell chipped not one but two Lions’ pass rushers to set up a big gain to Brown which led to his score.

Now at 6-2, the Steelers will enjoy their upcoming bye week before returning to action November 12th at Indianapolis against the Colts.


Check out our friend Six Rings Of Steel over on Youtube. He’s as big a Steelers’ fan as they come and makes awesome videos. You can also follow him on Twitter here. 

About the Author

Daniel Valente

Steelers fan from birth, spending majority of my free time looking up statistics. Had the honor of meeting Mike Vanderjagt shortly after his infamous missed field goal in the 2005 Divisional Round. Currently pursuing a Journalism degree. Follow me on Twitter @StatsGuyDaniel

  • CP72

    We left at least 13 points on the field. This offense is ready to click just got to make the plays that are there.

  • WARisHELL

    I’m emotionally spent

  • #beatthepats

    Grinded that one , what a sweat job!

  • CP72

    Yeah I need a bye week.

  • John Noh

    The D made sure that we fans had something to bitch about during the bye.

  • chazsteeler

    Huge clutch performance tonight – Red Zone D, long TD when bscked up in own end zone and running clock at end!

    And almost had more points – dropped Eli pass 4 more pts, missed DHB 4 more points, Ju Ju drop on 3rd down, Bell fumble at least 3 more probably.

  • John Noh

    Was Eli targeted again?

  • chazsteeler

    On the Pass Intererence yes – key play at end.

  • Chris92021

    My goodness, a star is born and his name is JuJu.

    Having said that, I hope this motivates Martavis Bryant to become a better football player and teammate.

    Enjoy the bye week, y’all!!

  • John Noh

    That’s right. The dude grabbed Eli’s wrist.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Yup, I don’t want to get too down on Martavis. He’s still talented, and I still hope he comes back from this.

  • Gautam Ramani

    Great to win going into the bye week. Defensive situational football much better – the offense was better, though still too inconsistent. Just need to peak at playoff time.

  • JNick

    Eat your heart out Martavis.

  • John

    Yes. The Bell fumble was a big swing. And the missed TD to DHB. But at least we held on.

  • Timothy Rea

    It’s interesting for the past 2-3 years a game like that.. other team moving it on the D down the field. Other team would have gotten that score at the end and it would have come down to a last steelers drive with the time outs where the offense may or may not have pulled through.. today our D was ultimate bend but not break. Shutting them down in the red zone every time. Faced a passer QB up there with the best.. Stafford is that at least and they came away with the win. I’m excited for what this team could attain.

  • John Noh

    Yep. Martavis now can play the Justin Hunter role – go routes galore.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    yeah we need him still but I just hope that 95 yrs td rec by ju ju didn’t seal bryants shipping papers

  • Hec

    JuJu must be thinking, “How you like me now?”

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Far from perfect. The biggest gaffes were Eli missing an easy TD, Ben throwing poorly to a wide-open Hey-Bey for another score, and JuJu dropping a first-down pass that would have kept possession and maybe led to more points.

    But! I give full marks to the defense for stopping the Lions when it counted, even if the lack of QB pressure and big-yardage chunks gave me too much anxiety.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    WHO RIDE? WE RIDE!

  • Joseph Shaw

    Thought the same. This D truly bends but doesn’t break.

  • NCSteel

    Congrats Ju Ju !!

    This bye week would be a good time to get the red zone issues straightened out.

    Truth is this team will not win much more than a playoff game at best with the red zone offense playing this inefficiently.

    Seriously folks. Enjoy the win but this team has a MAJOR red zone problem.

    A few quick early TD’s would also help this defense to play games on THEIR terms.
    They are becoming quite a force..

  • woodsworld58

    Ben also missed several wide open receivers. I could see that Hunter is not close to being able to make the plays that Martavis would, now that the season is underway. Ben missed a wide open Heyward_Bey in the end zone, which follows that Ben really doesn’t have the ability to form meaningful relationships with many receivers. That pass to JuJu, was a gimme, and it was about time Ben hit someone. Just seeing him try to force passes to Antonio Brown made me cringe, as once he was triple-covered!

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Also glad we kept the 2 game lead on the Ravens for the division (plus the tiebreaker). I don’t want them sneaking back into the race for the AFC North.

  • Joseph Shaw

    I hope it lights a fire in him. We can still use him, too.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Gonna take me about 5 hours to fall asleep.

  • Chris92021

    Nah, we would have to be blown away to even consider trading him, like a top 80 pick blown away. I hope we keep him because he is still useful.

  • woodsworld58

    I like JuJu, but he’s no Martavis Bryant. Bryant is the type of receiver Ben keeps asking for, but doesn’t know how to utilize. Martavis is only 25, and has a lot of money. I doubt that anyone on this board would handle this any better than he is, considering we are in the messaging age.

  • John Noh

    Hey, Alex, for your stats of the weird, I think JuJu’s 97-yarder broke the team record for longest TD reception – Mark Malone to Terry Bradshaw against the Seahawks! Not sure though.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Heyward Bey should’ve caught that. He got a hand on the ball. The problem was his other hand was 2 feet apart from the hand on the ball. Looked ridiculous. And Rogers drop was worse.

  • John

    Yes. Well said.

  • AndyR34

    Yes, Rogers drop was bad, but you are way off base on the Hey-Bey analysis. Terrible throw by Ben…one of several.

  • And the Roger’s drop.

  • MintDragon

    yes, but Chris92021 is right. This game gives the Steelers all the leverage against Bryant. Shape up or else. Not exactly subtle either. In my mind, he’s now expendable.

    WANT him to re-engage and contribute, hope he sees the light. He’s got a week to think about it.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Many WRs in the NFL pull that one in. It was far from perfectly placed, but he didn’t look good trying to catch it either.

  • Steelman72

    Lol, I think Martavis was Wally Pipped tonight. Ju Ju was awesome, going to be a great Steeler for years to come. I’m as beat up as the Steelers and need that bye week too!

  • Steelman72

    I think it was the other way around, Brad to Malone.

  • John Noh

    Right! 90 yards.

  • Jaybird

    I don’t know about you you but I know I could handle it better than MB. and he doesn’t have as much money as you think- check out how much he has been fined/ lost to suspension. He’s no millionaire.

  • Hec

    How’s that trade demand looking like now, Marty?

  • John Noh

    I believe Martavis will have a chance to redeem himself this season. I hope it’s in a big game.

  • GravityWon

    Butler called a good game. I liked what he did with Shazier and Watt dropping back in the middle on pass coverage in 2nd half.

  • Jaybird

    Hey bey was overthrown. Eli flat out dropped it. But hey – we won right!

  • gdeuce

    Ben to Mike Wallace against the Cardinals was 95 yards

  • GravityWon

    I think MB will have a big game at Indy. Should receive less attention now that Juju will be seen as a 4th dangerous weapon.

  • John Noh

    OK, I knew there had to be one longer since the early 80s. Thank you.

  • Brenton deed

    This team is a slumbering giant; when will they wake up?
    As for Ju-ju … like everyone I was deflated by the non-pick of a DB and the pick of a WR?? I forced myself into thinking: “well, there’s been a run on CBs so none left good enough for the pick and conversely this guy probably should’ve gone earlier” but my heart really wasn’t in it.
    I don’t feel that way now!

  • StillerzHaterzAmuseMe

    Hey, War.

  • Jaybird

    Wallace = 95 yrds
    Bryant =94 yards
    JuJu = the longest!!!! 97

  • Hec

    This was Steelers way of sending Marty a direct message to his trade demands. JuJu wasn’t drafted in the second round for nothing. JuJu has more to offer the offense than Martavis Bryant.

  • Cwallace

    I’m saying tonight that Juju’s a big Hines and i hope he gets just as nasty in the way he blocks because he’s good now. Now if Martavis can start freakn the outside with the 4 throws he’ll get we’ll kill it then because it seems Ben td % is better out of the red zone.

  • gdeuce

    Hey-Bey got a hand on it, if he dove for it he would’ve caught it

  • Michael Mosgrove

    pretty sure maddox had a pass around that yardage as well.

  • John Noh

    Juju jerseys are going to fly off the shelves.

  • Jaybird

    I checked – those are the three longest. There were some 90 yarders but I can’t remember who from.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    I feel like Hines ward had a trick play that went for 70 to 80 yards, Maddox had a couple in same range, think plax had 1 or 2 as well. Maybe not in the 90s range but the 70 to 80 range.

  • John Noh

    Brad to Malone was 90 😁

  • gdeuce

    Bryant never had leverage, even before this game

  • 2winz

    I’m glad people are coming around on the kid. I was one of the people defending the pick and part of that was because I love playing draft champions on madden and I always try to get Hines Ward and Antonio Brown. I think about about what that offense would look like.. 2 of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game and Hines Ward was and is still my favorite receiver. Though I think Brown is the better receiver and route runner, Ward was more well-rounded and did everything right. So the comparisons of JuJu to Hines was something I was okay with, I would take a 2nd coming of Hines Ward any day!

  • 2winz

    I think they wanted the Lions to get close to the goal-line so that they could improve their stats in that area :b

  • AndyR34

    Even Collingsworth said it was a bad throw! We’ll just have to disagree.

  • 2winz

    This is another reason JuJu reminds me of Ward. Hines was a great all-around receiver, one of the best receivers a qb could ask for, and all we ever heard was Ben wanted a tall receiver. A tall receiver is nice, but Martavis Bryant needs to step it up, otherwise, JuJu is earning his spot and taking over.

  • AndyR34

    If he dove for it he would have been beyond the end line. He was treading close to it as it was.

  • Sdale

    I think he caught a 3rd down pass that moved the chains as well after his drop.

  • Sdale

    The D, or the D coordinator? Rushing 3 is a recipe for disaster no matter how many you drop. Not saying you shouldn’t mix that in, but running that most of the game is a head scratcher.