The Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) hosted the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Heinz Field with one goal in mind; win. The Lions weren't necessarily predicted to be an unbeatable challenge when the 2013 NFL schedule came out, but another road bump. That was before the Steelers had deja vu of a 2012 season come crashing in against the breakers, sucking them out to sea in 2013. Challenged to take Detroit's main weapon away from them, Calvin Johnson and his ability to leap and catch nearly any ball thrown to him from Matthew Stafford, the Steelers completely shut Johnson down in the second half. The Steelers were first to put points on the board and the last, setting them up for a three-way tie in the AFC North Division.
The Steelers took over on downs in their first offensive possession of the game. Beginning in the no-huddle, Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated a 68-yard drive in eight plays that included a 34-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger went five-of-five for 61 yards through the air.
Their second offensive possession saw the Steelers continue the no-huddle and another Antonio Brown touchdown. It was the first time in 2013 that the Steelers have scored touchdowns in their first two offensive possessions.
The Steelers improved their takeaways against Detroit at plus-3, which was the highest they have had in the 2013 season. Turnovers have been something the defense had been lacking, and when the Lions attempted a fake field goal with a 27-23 lead, the Steelers capitalized. Punter Sam Martin, who was the holder on the play, stood up and tried to run up the middle where he was promptly met by Steve McLendon. In quick fashion, McLendon stripped the ball and Ryan Clark recovered it, setting up a 97-yard offensive series (16 plays) to score the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard pass to Will Johnson.
Head coach Mike Tomlin couldn't have been more excited.
“Boy, that was a satisfying victory. A good, tough week for us, not only in terms of the game but from a preparation standpoint. We had some guys that had to step up, obviously. Guys like Guy Whimper, guys like Jarvis Jons and Jason Worilds...Obviously, we were going to be tested and that's a good football team.”
“To the guys' credit, we got in here and gathered at the half. Guys didn't blink,” said Tomlin. “We made the necessary adjustments. We came out and played a good thirty minutes of football and did what was necessary to get the victory. We'll take it and move forward.”
Ben Roethlisberger on the difference between being 4-6 and 3-7:
“It feels great right now. We said coming in that we wanted to be 1-0 after this week, and that is what we are. Starting tomorrow we are back to square one.”
Will Allen on his interception to get the ball back to the Steelers to create an offensive possession that won the game:
“It was a play I've seen (the Lions) run against the Dallas Cowboys...In two-deep, (Matthew Stafford) went into the Cowboys game, they had a safety on the rollout and he threw it back door to (Calvin Johnson). As soon as I saw the three-by-one set, I knew what was going on. As soon as I saw the ball, I knew...so, I just played deep and waited for the ball to be thrown. Lord willing, I just give glory to God. Just bringing me back here with the Steelers...I'm just very thankful for this win.”
Want Pittsburgh Steelers news right away? Subscribe for free and get all the updates in your email inbox without worrying about spam!