The Steelers’ Will Allen intercepts a ball intended for the Lions’ Calvin Johnson in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
GAME BALL goes to: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger passed for more than 350 yards for the fifth time this season, but it was the first time it produced a victory. Playing in a light rain for most of the game, Roethlisberger passed for 367 yards and four touchdowns and had a passer rating of 119.4. What's more, he did not have a turnover for the third time this season. "He doesn't get as much attention as some of the other guys," said Jerricho Cotchery, who caught the final touchdown. "But the amount of touchdowns and yards he has in a cold-weather city speaks volumes about him."
THE COUNTDOWN A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. Long drive: After they foiled a fake field-goal attempt early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers drove 97 yards on 16 plays to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Roethlisberger to fullback Will Johnson. The drive was kept alive by Brown's 16-yard catch on third-and-9 from their 4 and a 3-yard pass to Le'Veon Bell on fourth-and-2 at the Lions 36. "It was a situation that I told the guys, first and foremost, let's get a first down," Roethlisberger said. "Antonio Brown made a great catch, a contested catch."
2. Extra yards: After running 30 yards after the catch on his first touchdown, Brown ran 38 yards after a short catch to score on a 47-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 14-0 lead -- their biggest first-half lead in any game this season.
3. Mega catch: One play after the Steelers took a 17-3 lead, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson beat Ike Taylor for a 79-yard touchdown for the first of his two scoring catches. "Now I see why they call him Megatron," Taylor said.
4. Bad series: In a four-play sequence at the end of the first half, Taylor was called for holding Johnson, interfering with Johnson and dropping an interception on second down that would have prevented a 19-yard field goal that gave the Lions a 27-20 lead.
5. Fooled 'em again: For the second game in a row, Cotchery caught a touchdown on a play in which it appears he is going to block. It came on a fake wide-receiver screen in which he released for a wide-open 20-yard score to cement the comeback
"To the guys' credit, we got in here and gathered at the half. Guys didn't blink. We made the necessary adjustments. We came out and played a good 30 minutes of football and did what was necessary. We're excited about it, but there is no time to wear out our hands patting ourselves on the back."
-- Mike Tomlin
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
9 That's the number of plays of 50 yards or longer allowed by the Steelers in 10 games, the most in a season since Mike Tomlin became coach. Calvin Johnson's 79-yard touchdown was the sixth pass play of at least 50 yards.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Leading 27-23 and facing fourth-and-5 at the Steelers 10, the Lions lined up for a 27-yard field-goal attempt with 12:49 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, holder/punter Sam Martin ran with the snap and gained 3 yards before being tackled by nose tackle Steve McLendon. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he didn't regret the fake attempt. "We thought we could get it in with the play that we ran," Schwartz said. "We wouldn't have called it if we didn't think it was there, and it was my call."
X's AND O's
For the first time this season, the Steelers came out with their no-huddle offense and scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession -- a 34-yard catch and run by Antonio Brown. They stayed in the no-huddle and scored another touchdown on their second possession, this time a 47-yard catch and run by Brown. Roethlisberger was 7 of 8 for 121 yards on those two possessions. "We are trying to brainstorm and see what is the best, so [the coaches] can best prepare me when I am on the field to call the best play possible," Roethlisberger said.
The Steelers (4-6) play at the Cleveland Browns (4-6) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Since the Browns returned in 1999, they are 5-24 against the Steelers. But they are 2-2 in the past four games in Cleveland.
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