Pittsburgh Steelers Overcome Detroit Lions: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes the ball to tight end David Paulson (81) while under pressure from Detroit Lions defensive end Devin Taylor (92) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers showed the Detroit Lions, Steeler Nation, and anyone else watching on FOX that a football game is 60 minutes long.  The Lions came in hoping to take advantage of a Steelers team that was 3-6 with very little in the way of answers for their struggles.  It was a roller coaster of a game with the Steelers dominating in the first quarter, falling apart in the second, then regrouping in the second half and pulling out a win in the final minutes.  And now, the Steelers are 4-6 overall and looking to sweep Baltimore next week.  Lots to talk about in this game.  Let’s get to it:

The Good

Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben went 29 of 45 for 367 yards and 4 TD’s.  Oh yeah, and no turnovers.  In a week that was full of dispelling trade rumors and then work ethic rumors, Ben Roethlisberger quieted many critics and haters – or at least should have with a performance like that.  He was only sacked once, which is hugely attributed to the good pass protection from the offensive line.  He stepped into and out of the pocket when he needed to.  Ben did have a few errant throws – one of them being the overthrow to Paulson in the end zone during the second half.  But, Roethlisberger made up for some miscues with two solid fourth quarter drives that ended in touchdowns.  Big Ben ran the no huddle numerous times throughout the game, and for the majority of the time, it was working very well.  The majority of his decision making was smart, which lead to no picks and no fumbles.  Great game and great effort by #7.

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds (bottom) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Regrouping of Defense and Heyward, Worilds, and Jones – The defense will certainly hit the Ugly section later, but they get major kudos for being able to regroup in the second half after being shellacked in the 2nd quarter.  The defense was a little shaky coming out of the gates in the first quarter.  The defense dodged a couple of bullets with some Matthew Stafford overthrown passes to some wide open receivers like Reggie Bush out in the flat.  The defense then gave up 27 points in the second quarter, and there was no signs of hope going in to the second half – ‘adjustments’ is not really in the vernacular of Dick LeBeau the last few seasons.  Well, something happened in that locker room during halftime, and the defense did a 180 turn in the second half.  A big tip of the hat to Cam Heyward, Jason Worilds, and Jarvis Jones all had solid games in the pass rush.  Stafford spent as much time scrambling out of the pocket in the second half as he did in the pocket during the first.  Worilds recorded a sack which can be attributed to the pressure put on by Jones.  Cam had five solo tackles, one assist, and even defended a pass in the end zone after tipping the ball away.  Seeing those three guys step up in a game like this when it looked like the chips had fallen by halftime is very encouraging.  Heyward is here to stay after many questioned his value after some mediocre seasons.  Jones is getting better – if he could just get some better technique, he’ll be able to get by defenders and get the sack.  Good things to come and Steeler Nation should feel good about that.

Closing the Game – The Steelers drove the field twice late in the 4th quarter to take the lead and then to ice the game.  The Steelers usually find themselves scrambling to tie a game down more than 10 points in the fourth quarter, but this time they were only down four.  They took the lead on a Roethlisberger TD pass to TE Will Johnson and then went up by 10 on a 20 yard TD strike to Jerricho Cotchery to ice the game with 1:42 left.  The defense held when it needed to, and got a key turnover from Will Allen after they went up by four points which set the table for the Cotchery score.  Great team effort in closing the game.