Steelers vs. Lions: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Pittsburgh

Dan Snyder@@dsnyder34Correspondent INovember 17, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 10:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes against Manny Lawson #91 of the Buffalo Bills during the game on November 10, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images


The Pittsburgh Steelers appeared dead in the water at halftime following a Lions 27-points second quarter, but the team recovered in a big way. Ben Roethlisberger and the offense fueled a major fourth-quarter comeback while the defense shut Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson down. 

Pittsburgh improves to 4-6 on the season, keeping their playoff hopes alive. 


Lions: 27

Steelers: 37 

Pittsburgh Steelers Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-Half GradesFinal Grades
Pass OffenseA-A
Run OffenseDD
Run DefenseC-C+
Pass DefenseFC+
Special TeamsDB-
vs. Lions, Week 11

Final Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Pass Offense: This was a day to remember for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing game. Roethlisberger was firing on all cylinders all day as he out-dueled Matt Stafford and the Lions. Ben’s biggest moment came on a 97-yard touchdown drive that allowed the Steelers to take the lead and, eventually, the win.

It was vintage Roethlisberger all afternoon. Even the offensive line protected well. Pittsburgh has a nice performance to build off of as they inch closer in the AFC North.

Run Offense: As usual, there was no running room for Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers backs. Bell did well receiving out of the backfield, but he really had to work for all of his 36 rushing yards today. Pittsburgh needs to improve on their run game in the coming weeks, because 42 yards just isn’t good enough.

Run Defense: The Steelers defense in the second half was excellent. Joique Bell did some good work against Pittsburgh, but it was tough sledding for Reggie Bush all afternoon. The Steelers gave up 107 yards on the ground to the Lions, but most of that total came in the first half.

Pass Defense: The difference in the Steelers pass defense from the first half to the second was utterly unbelievable. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson, who gashed Pittsburgh for 327 yards through the air in the first half, had just 35 in the second. Johnson had no catches in the second half.

Terrific improvements were made by the Steelers and their coaching staff at halftime. Ike Taylor got help over the top and Pittsburgh developed a pass rush. The devastating second quarter was negated by a phenomenal second half.

Special Teams: The Steelers got some big special teams plays from their team in the second half. The biggest, however, was the forced fumble on the Lions fake field goal. It kept Detroit’s lead under a touchdown and brought the Steelers some life. Shaun Suisham continued to be great, and even McBriar boomed a 70-yard punt.

Coaching: These were the best second-half adjustments I’ve seen out of the Steelers staff this entire season. The second-half defensive game plan was about as perfect as one could get, while the offense found success behind Roethlisberger. Mike Tomlin may have saved his job.

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 17 :  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions on November 17, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Pass Offense: You really can’t blame the Steelers passing attack for today's first-half collapse. In fact, this may be the best half of passing they’ve had all season long. Ben Roethlisberger has connected on 15 of his 23 pass attempts for 222 yards and two scores.

The Steelers certainly didn't hope to wind up in a shootout with Detroit's high-powered offense today, but that’s where they've ended up. If Pittsburgh is going to come back, it’ll be because of Ben.

Run Offense: Getting caught up in a shootout has not been beneficial to the Steelers run game. They’ve rushed just nine times for 14 yards this afternoon. Le’Veon Bell has had some minor success, but it’s been all on his own. He has 22 yards rushing in the first half.

Run Defense: Pittsburgh has done a nice job on Reggie Bush in the first half, holding him to just 19 rush yards and even recovering a fumble, but Joique Bell has gashed Pittsburgh for 30 yards and a touchdown. With a lead, expect these two to be factors in the second half for the Lions offense.

Pass Defense: The leader of the incredible second-quarter meltdown is the Steelers pedestrian pass defense. Pittsburgh has now given up 327 passing yards to Matt Stafford and 179 receiving yards to Calvin Johnson in just one half. It’s pretty obvious that Ike Taylor (or any NFL cornerback) can not cover Johnson one-on-one and yet, that’s the defense they’re running. The Steelers have had no pass rush so far today.

The Steelers better get their act together in the second half, or they’re in for a rough day.

Special Teams: Mat McBriar is the worst punter in the National Football League. Signing him and cutting Zoltan Mesko accomplished nothing. Conversely, Shaun Suisham has been a stud.

Coaching: The Steelers red-zone offense is an absolute joke and may be the worst in football. Today, Pittsburgh is 0-for-2 scoring touchdowns inside the Lions’ 20-yard line, and that’s the difference in the game. Todd Haley continues to be the least creative play-caller in pro football and the defensive game plan looks pretty bad right now. It hasn't been a banner day for Mike Tomlin and his staff.

Follow on Twitter: @dsnyder34


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