Defense, Late Gamble Cost Detroit Lions against Steelers

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) fumbles as he is hit by Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Will Allen (20) and free safety Ryan Clark (right) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers 37, Detroit Lions 27 (box score)

According to the box score, the Detroit Liosn got another big day from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. As we all know, box scores rarely tell the story.

The Lions defense got off to a sloppy start on a sloppy day in Pittsburgh. A steady rain didn’t hold back Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown from connecting on a couple first quarter touchdowns. The early 14-0 deficit wasn’t what the Lions hoped for but it was hardly game over. The Lions roared back to put up a 27-point second quarter to take a 27-20 lead into the halftime locker room.

Unfortunately, the tightening of the Lions defense in the second quarter didn’t last. Neither did the offensive firepower. After posting 327 first half passing yards, Stafford finished with “just” 362.

Still, the Lions offense had the ball on the move in the fourth quarter. The drive stalled at the Pittsburgh ten yard line. Instead of kicking a field goal that would have given the Lions a 30-23 lead, they ran a fake field goal with holder/punter Sam Martin carrying the ball to the right side of the line. The run came up short and Martin fumbled.

The gamble didn’t work but the real failure is what transpired. After recovering at their own three yard line, the Steelers drove 97 yards in 16 plays to take a 30-27 lead.

After a quick three-and-out by the Lions offense, the Steelers found the end zone once again. The Lions secondary bit hard on a fake wide receiver screen to leave Jerricho Cotchery wide open for a 20 yard touchdown pass. It was the dagger that clinched the 37-27 win for the Steelers.

Topics: Detroit Lions

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