Lions’ Versatility Presents Unique Challenge For Steelers

Lost in the Martavis Bryant saga and even the Pittsburgh Steelers big win over the Bengals is the fact there’s another game on Sunday. Against a talented Detroit Lions team. In Detroit. Certainly not an easy task for the Steelers if they want to continue their winning ways. Ben Roethlisberger discussed the Lions’ defense and what makes them a threat.

“They’re very opportunistic,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “Lot of turnovers. Balls are tipped, they catch them. Doesn’t seem like a ball that’s in the air ever hits the ground. They have a good pass rush. Four guys, sometimes they add a fifth. And I think one of the biggest challenges is on third down. They Rolodex the defense. Literally you might not see the same coverage in the secondary two third downs [in a game].”

Detroit is tied for third in the league with nine interceptions. They’re led by Darius Slay, one of the league’s most underrated corners, and Glover Quinn, one of the most underrated safeties. Antonio Brown and Slay had some great battles when the Lions came to St. Vincent for joint training camp practices two years ago.

Roethlisberger said the biggest key to the game is responding to what the Lions throw at them mid-game.

“They’re throwing so many defenses and coverages at you especially on third down. To try to figure something out, to get a leg up or something, is going to be really hard to do. So they’re going to be a lot of in-game adjustments going on.”

Sounds like a lot will be on Todd Hakey’s shoulders to command those changes. He’s already shaping up to be this Week’s X Factor.

Yes, the Lions’ defense has a lot of holes. They aren’t generating a consistent enough pass rush and just gave up a whopping 52 points to the New Orleans Saints ten days ago, though five turnovers by the offense did them no favors. But they’re coming off a bye week and relatively healthy. A group not to be taken lightly.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    Hey Alex I was wondering what your take is on moving Shazier to tight end (or safety) for this game?

    Talk about match-up nightmare!

  • Rob

    Yes, Alex let us know. I’m personally hoping to see him at long snapper.

  • nutty32

    Lions are soft on both sides of the ball, just not a very physical bunch. D line gets no push. O line is pretty good at pass pro, picking up blitzes but gets zero push in the run game. D plays mainly bend but don’t break but lack many play maker outside the 2 guys mentioned in this article. Their WR often have trouble getting any kind of separation.
    If the Steelers show up motivated and don’t turn this game into a 7-on-7 type flag game & play for all 60 minuets, should have no trouble coming home with the W.

  • Jon Hartman

    Are you a moron or something? Alex is not a coach! he’s a blogger. go away, dummy.

  • VinHuddle

    You and me both!! With his speed he’d be one helluva a long snapper lol.

  • Alex Kozora

    How about both?

  • Gizmosteel

    I can’t seem to get the Jax game out of my mind. Hope they don’t mail in another performance against a weaker team.

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    Good point! Keep him on the field longer.

    Haley will find a way to mess it up though. Worst coordinator ever. Time for him to go, I say

  • EdJHJr

    Not to be taken lightly??,??

    Sounds like an automatic loss.

  • EdJHJr

    You don’t know what you just said. Anytime this team should have no trouble , about 90% of the time means a loss

  • falconsaftey43

    That was a hard game to watch, but the Jaguars are looking pretty darn good. 4-3, 2nd best point differential in the league. That defense is legit and their offense isn’t bad either.

  • nutty32

    I’m counting on the Lev Bell homecoming + our angry OLine to keep turnovers at a minimum & keep Stafford off the field to bring home the beacon in this nationally televised night game. Lions don’t seem to have the ammo to combat being bullied….hopefully…

  • Gizmosteel

    Agreed. But to me it looked like some malaise contributed to the craptastic finish.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Sunday Night Football on the road before a bye week. I can’t see the Steelers phoning this one in. The Lions are deceptively challenging, so the Steelers will need to stay disciplined. Slow the game way down if necessary. I expect another big game from Bell, as he really doesn’t fumble the ball. One solution to beating a team that thrives on turnovers is to give the ball to your most sure-handed player.

  • Sam Clonch

    I seem to remember AB having his way with Slay back during those joint practices. I’m pretty confident AB hasn’t dropped off, so Lions fans better hope Slay has improved a lot since then!

  • Frank Martin

    Man, to listen to Ben, you’d think the Lions were the 1985 Bears. Their pass rush is actually one of the worst in the league this year.

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    Glover Quin and Slay are both ball hawks. Hopefully we can pound the ball on the ground and have another efficient passing day. I don’t like the idea of Ben throwing 35 times in this game. I feel that’d lead to at least 2 picks.

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    Especially if he stares down AB like he has been lately

  • Ralph Wagner

    The Steelers have a way of making bad teams look good. We have seen this many times. What is it called? oh yeah playing down to the competition. Hopefully the Steelers play up to their capabilities.

    Go Steelers

  • Steve

    Ben does lock on to the receiver too often and needs to look for the open man.

  • Milton Farfara

    As long as the D keeps performing like it has most of the season and Haley sticks to the game plan they’ve used the last 2 weeks and limits his brain farts to no more than 1 per half, the Steelers should come out with an easy win.

  • will

    You have a nasty attitude. And it shows

  • will

    And there ladies and gentlemen…..is the fumble jinx.