Steelers Versus Lions – Second Half Notes And Observations

By Matthew Marczi

  • The Steelers could not have gotten off to a worse finish in the first half, giving up 27 unanswered points and shooting themselves in the foot on offense. A three-and-out to open the third quarter did not ease the tension.
  • Unlike in the first half, however, Mat McBriar got off an excellent punt that truly flipped the field, with the returner being run out of bounds at the 12.
  • Thanks to Jason Worilds, Matthew Stafford was forced to rush his throw on third down, which Cameron Heyward was able to bat down.
  • Like Stafford in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger got lucky when the Lions dropped a sure interception aimed directly at a defender. Both quarterbacks got lucky with balls popped up in the air as well.
  • McBriar had back to back strong punts, the second of which was fair caught thanks to the pressure of Curtis Brown.
  • Thanks once again to Worilds, the Lions go three-and-out on their first two drives. Thanks also goes to Jarvis Jones, as I’ll show you later in the week.
  • The red zone woes carry on in to the second half. After Le’Veon Bell nearly scores to set up first and goal on the one, the Steelers can’t get into the end zone. Roethlisberger overthrew a wide open David Paulson on second down.
  • At least they got on the board though, instead of, say, faking a field goal and having their punter try to run for a first down…
  • I like the fact that the Steelers kept their nose tackles into the game by using them as defensive tackles in sub-packages.
  • That said, I wouldn’t claim that they played particularly well, although on one second and one conversion in which they evidently run right by Steve McLendon, it seems to me that he might have been held.
  • Ryan Clark thought he saved four points one his deflection over Calvin Johnson in the end zone. He ended up saving seven.
  • After the turnover, David DeCastro showed on the first two plays what kind of day he had. On first down, he turned Ndamukong Suh out of the hole. On second down, Suh swam past him effortlessly.
  • The greatness of Roethlisberger’s third down pass to Antonio Brown cannot truly be appreciated without the realization that Suh had Marcus Gilbert going the bunny hop back into him as he threw. While he still had enough time to throw off his front foot, it was just barely, and he was prevented a full windup as Gilbert was pushed into him at the release, taking some power off the throw. That may have been the most important play of the entire game.
  • Still, the fourth down play after Roethlisberger’s gutsy 10-yard run on third and 12 would be right behind it.
  • Way to trust a rookie in a big-time situation like that, by the way.
  • It really is astounding the production and big moments the Steelers are getting out of Jerricho Cotchery this year. That the Steeler almost didn’t score after his 19-yard reception down to the one is embarrassing.
  • Thanks to Brown’s drop in the end zone. Two of his three drops this year should have been touchdowns.
  • After a pass interference and a failed run, they finally get into the end zone from within the red zone…with a pass to the fullback.
  • It’s been a while since Roethlisberger has been able to seal a game with a late touchdown in a one-score game. It’s nice to see a change of pace.
  • That touchdown to Cotchery was a thing of beauty, but it’s worth a closer look than can be provided here.
  • Jones with another pass deflection. It’s nice to see these start to show up after hearing about them being a frequent occurrence in training camp.
  • Chris Carter got a token snap on the last play of the game—fourth and 15—on which Ziggy Hood got a sack by dragging Stafford down by his jersey. It’s good to see all that strength training come in handy for once.
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