The Steelers certainly don’t know how to make things look easy. They once again on Sunday in Detroit built a rather sizable lead over the Lions, leading 28-13 midway through the third quarter, and had to hang on before finally putting to rest Daunte Culpepper and Detroit 28-20.
The team needed a defensive stance in the final minute, as they recorded three straight sacks before a failed Hail Mary by Culpepper ended the threat. The Steelers had leads in the last two road games before falling to the Bears and Bengals, so while it wasn’t the most impressive win, the team will take it to move to 3-2.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 277 yards on 23-for-30 passing with three touchdowns and a pick six back the other way be the Lions William James that made it 14-13 in the second quarter. The Steelers though came right back, as Roethlisberger led the best drive of the day, hitting tight end Heath Miller three times in the drive, then ending it with a 17-yard TD to Hines Ward, his first score of the season to make it 21-13 at the half.
The lead was extended in the third quarter when Mike Wallace, who had dropped a long ball earlier, made a solid adjustment on a long pass and pulled it in for a 47-yard score to make it 28-13, and all look well in black and gold nation.
The Lions though didn’t go quietly, first Culpepper led them on a 7-play, 82-yard drive that took just 2:58 to close the score to 28-20 when he hit Dennis Northcutt with a 25-yard score with 4:57 left. After a Steelers three-and-out, Culpepper was able to get the ball to the Steelers 21, but then it was three straight sacks – Woodley and Gay, Gay again and then Lawrence Timmons, that put the Lions in a fourth-and-34 when Culpepper went deep and it was knocked away.
The win is the first on the road this season for the Steelers, and for the Lions, they fall to 1-4 but should get some credit for giving the Steelers one heck of a fight. Rashard Mendenhall had 77 yards on 15 carries with a score, and Ward had 7 grabs for 85 yards.
The Steelers return to Heinz Field next Sunday to take on the 1-4 Browns at 1pm.