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

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The Ugly

Play calling on 1st & Goal in 3rd quarter – I’ve already laid in on Haley’s play calling for the majority of the game.  But, what was bad and then quickly became ugly was the 1st & goal that became a 3 and out with a field goal when the Steelers were down 27-20.  On 1st & goal, the Steelers went no huddle as a carry over from the last play that got them there.  An encroachment call on the Lions defense moved the ball to the half yard line and was a replay on the down.  The Steelers huddled up and ran Bell up the middle for no gain – predictable.  Then, Ben threw awkwardly off his back foot and overthrew David Paulson wide open in the end zone.  Then, Haley ran Bell off the left side for a loss of two yards.  Look, were Ben to hit Paulson for the score we probably wouldn’t be talking about this point in the series as an ugly moment, but he didn’t.  What blew my mind was the fact that the Steelers not once (nor does it seem like they have ever this season) have just taken Ben and have him push the pile up the middle in a situation like that…. or run a quick bootleg off tackle.  6’5″, 241 lbs., and a very difficult to bring down, and you decide to run your smaller rookie back twice.  Where was Dwyer?  Where was the up the gut by Ben?  Simply terrible and ugly.

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown past Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (24) during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ike Taylor – Whelp.  Ike Taylor my be able to cover guys like AJ Green.  But, when it comes to Megatron Ike Taylor looked like a boy among men.  Taylor bit on moves, missed tackles, and looked simply awful out there.  Even when Taylor played off Johnson and let Stafford check down, Ike whiffed tackle after tackle.  To be a bit fair, his fellow defensemen – Ryan Clark mainly – left Taylor out to dry on most of the deeper balls to Megatron.  Johnson caught for 163 yards… in the 2nd quarter alone.  Things got so bad for Ike that when Stafford hit Ike square in the chest with a pass, he dropped it.  Ike dropped a second pass that hit him in the hands.  He was having an absolute nightmare of a game.  His performance certainly does not instill confidence in the weeks to come.

2nd quarter shellacking – The wheels came off, plain and simple.  The secondary was torn to shreds – not just by Megatron.  Matthew Stafford hit numerous receivers, and the Lions scored 27 points…. yes…. Twenty.  Seven.  Points in a single quarter.  The Steelers were fortunate that it wasn’t 31 as they were able to hold Detroit to only a field goal at the end of the half (thanks to Cam Heyward for a beautiful tipped ball in the end zone).  The Steelers cannot survive with the defense breaking down like that.  How the Steelers were able to only proves how stupid Lions HC Jim Schwartz was in that fake field goal to go up seven on the road.  UGLY.

Honorable mention – The attendance at Heinz Field and those that walked out of the stadium at the end of the first half .