The Steelers starters put out a dominating display which makes you wonder if the Steelers are that good, or if the Lions are that bad. Ben Roethlisberger was nearly perfect and had a nice scramble and pump fake reminiscent of a decade ago.
Najee Harris made some big plays, and Pat Freiermuth had two (!!) touchdowns from red zone passes. The Ben Roethlisberger to Pat Freiermuth connection could be something special.
The defense looked just as good, shutting out the Detroit Lions and getting constant pressure on the passer. Alex Highsmith and Melvin Ingram jumped off the screen and the All-Pro TJ Watt isn’t even on the field (nor Stephon Tuitt).
Mason Rudolph got the relief work from Ben Roethlisberger and snapped his streak of scoreless drives with a field goal from Chris Boswell.
Very impressive numbers, put together by Dave Bryan there.
START OF SECOND HALF
On 2nd down, the pressure was on, and the deep strike into double coverage was deflected by Justin Layne.
Some of the defensive starters are getting a second half look. This is hopefully the last drive of that.
The Steelers defense forced the punt and Matthew Sexton was back to receive. He got the sideline and streaked down for a large pickup into Detroit Lions territory. Some nice blocks made that return possible.
If accurate, that’s a pair of good special teams plays for Tre Norwood, who isn’t overly athletic. Special teams success is a mindset.
Mason Rudolph is back to start the second half.
Kalen Ballage with the rush to the outside, but not much room there – just a couple yards on the pickup.
Mike Tomlin is NOT living in his fears with many of the starters still in the game.
Eric Ebron with a gain of 14 yards as he caught the ball over the middle and shook off the first defender with a turn to the outside.
It looks like the tight end position went from a liability to a well stocked unit over the offseason.
I wonder if Mike Tomlin just leaves Mason Rudolph out there until a touchdown is produced.
Eric Ebron got tripped up, but picked up the first down with a shallow crosser. 1st and 10 from the 11. Rudolph hands the ball of to Ballage who drives his legs in the pile to pick up 3.
The run blocking hasn’t looked spectacular, but its at least an improvement from last year.
Rudolph rolled out right and hit Ballage on the flat route for another short gain. 3rd and 4 and you have to think Mason wants this badly.
The 3rd down pass should have been picked off as it was directly to the defender. 4th down, and Boswell back out for the field goal. The fifth straight scoring drive for the Steelers after the opening three-and-out. Mason has led three field goal drives. His night could have looked so much better. 23-0 Steelers.
You can assume that Jordan Berry will get punts in the second half, though the Steelers are showing no signs of a punt being necessary.
Juju, who was in the game a little longer than he probably should have been, is now dinged up.
More starters are starting to be pulled out. Tomlin probably being cautious after the Juju Smith-Schuster issue.
Robert Spillane darted into the backfield for the tackle for loss on 1st down.
Lions backup QB, David Blough scrambled on 3rd and long for a big pickup and a first down. The longest play of the night for Detroit. The very next play, Marcus Allen, amongst others, were in there for the sack.
Another nice pickup for Blough on a scramble for 13 yards. 3rd and short now. The Lions convert on a run off the right tackle for a short gain.
The Lions are right around field goal range as they look for their first points of the night.
Blough with an easy completion to Brock Wright to put them in the red zone. Another completion on first down and the Steelers got called for roughing the passer. Isaiahh Loudermilk hit the quarterback late and high.
END OF THIRD QUARTER – 23-0 Steelers.
A touchdown scored on the ground and probably a holding call that was missed. The Lions go for the two point conversion, but failed on a fade to the right corner. 23-6 Steelers.
Dwayne Haskins is checking into the game. He handed the ball off to Jaylen Samuels for a short gain up the middle.
Kevin Rader with the reception on 2nd down, but not much there. He was brought down hard right away.
On 3rd and 5, Haskins lined up in shotgun. He scrambled to the right side and slid once he crossed the sticks for the easy first down. There were more yards he could have gotten there, but a smart play for the young player.
Jaylen Samuels with the sweep out to the left, but there was no room and he was brought down at the line of scrimmage. 3rd and 1 and Haskins complete to Ray-Ray McCloud in the flat for the first down.
Haskins just looks good when performing his job.
Haskins overthrew Anthony Johnson on first down and it wasn’t particularly close. The deep ball is one thing I would like to see more of from Haskins.
McCloud on the wide receiver screen along the left sideline. Cody White makes an excellent block to take two defenders out of the play and McCloud’s speed took care of the rest. A nice explosive play of 30 yards.
Haskins on 2nd down navigated his way around the pocket, he tried to escape but decided to throw the ball away. Another smart decision.
The next play, a free defender came through and sacked Haskins to set up a field goal attempt. A nice scramble and an explosive play from Ray-Ray McCloud increase the Steelers lead via the foot of Chris Boswell. 26-6 Steelers.
Haskins didn’t produce much there, but made some smart decisions, showed a strong arm on the timing routes, and showed good scrambling ability on a couple plays.
Henry Mondeaux in on the kickoff tackle at the 20 yard line. Amazing that a defensive lineman can get down there like that.
David Blough keeps gashing the Steelers with QB scrambles. Fortunately, this one was called back for offensive holding. Some of these Steelers depth defenders are looking gassed.
NFL Network is apparently pivoting to the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Rams game, so be sure to refresh your page here for live updates.
After a couple holding calls, the Lions had 2nd and 30. They got bailed out by a Shakur Brown defensive holding. Brown also dropped an interception there.
Justin Layne had a bad missed tackle there, didn’t break his feet down and square up. The Lions are back in the red zone. Shakur Brown with the trifecta of bad plays as he got another penalty for illegal use of hands.
Blough finds McKinley in the end zone. Randy Bullock with the PAT. 26-13 Steelers.
The Steelers depth had been dominating the second half of preseason games thus far, but this week is quite the opposite – allowing two touchdown drives back to back.
The Lions opted to attempt the on-side kick under a fresh set of rules for the 2021 season. They recover. A good teaching moment for ST coordinator Danny Smith. I am sure his bubblegum is taking a beating right now.
The Lions aren’t going down without a fight. David Blough has his unit at the Steelers 3 yard line. The Steelers forced the 4th down, but a 32 yard explosive play has them in scoring position at the two minute warning.
Reynolds went off the right guard for the touchdown. The extra point is good. 26-20 Steelers.
Those of you who like to gamble are sweating right now on what should have been an easy line.
I would imagine Danny Smith’s hands unit will get a chance to display their recent learnings very quickly. The Lions likely to try another onside kick.
Haskins pass short right to Trey Edmunds who took it for 19 yards. The Steelers appear to be trying, rather than taking a knee. The next two runs for no gain by Jaylen Samuels.
3rd and 10, Jaylen Samuels got the ball again for a gain of 4. Maybe we see a Jordan Berry punt here?
The Lions opt not to take their timeout and end the game. The Steelers are now 3-0 on the preseason.
Thank you all for joining. Only a couple more weeks until the real thing.
FINAL SCORE – 26-20 STEELERS