Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Overcome Red Zone Incompetence & Disaster 2nd Quarter to Win 37-27


Now most of you who read this site know me as quite the “Patty Pessimist.” And hey, that’s fine since I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy.

So while I could discuss the Steelers’ red zone woes (1/4 on touchdowns) and complete and total disaster of a second quarter today (27 points allowed), I will choose to focus more on the team’s stellar effort in other areas which propelled them to a 37-27 win over the Detroit Lions this afternoon.

As much as Pittsburgh’s running game struggled (27 carries for 40 yards) against Detroit’s front-seven, the Steelers started off hot with “Big Ben” running the hurry-up and no-huddle offense and finding Antonio Brown early and often. Brown, who caught seven passes for 147 yards, caught two first quarter touchdowns to put the Steelers ahead 14-0 and firmly in the driver’s seat.

The passing game was clicking, and Roethlisberger looked in sync with all of his pass catchers. Heck, even the defense kept the Lions at bay and even got off the field on a crucial 4th down, and Lawrence Timmons scooped up a fumble in Pittsburgh’s territory later in the half.

Of course, all of the good vibes would go by the wayside though by the middle of the quarter though, Detroit’s offense shied away from the run, and relied on Calvin Johnson and the rest of their receiving corps to thrash Pittsburgh’s secondary. The Lions racked up all 27 points in the second quarter alone, Stafford threw two touchdowns to Johnson (79 and 19 yards), and the running game (25 carries, 107 yards, Reggie Bush touchdown) finally appeared to click due to the pass taking precedent.

Although their offense could only muster a field goal in that quarter, Pittsburgh’s defense held firm on Detroit’s final possession of the half. Instead of allowing the Lions to take a commanding 31-20 lead, the defense stood firm inside the five-yard line and forced three straight incomplete passes from Stafford to make the game 27-20.

After Pittsburgh’s offense went three-and-out to start the second half, the defense came up big once again in the third quarter to force two three-and-outs and the Steelers mustered a field goal which cut the lead to 27-23. On Detroit’s next possession though, the Steelers’ defense stepped up to make what could be considered “the play of the season.”

With the ball on Pittsburgh’s 10 yard-line, Detroit appeared to line up for a cake-easy field goal which would have given them 30-23 lead with 12:49 to go. Detroit’s head coach however thought it was time for some razzle-dazzle and called a fake field goal. Unfortunately for Jim Schwartz, his gamble did not pay off as his punter Sam Martin was stripped of the ball by Steve McLendon and Cameron Heyward. Ryan Clark recovered the ball at the three yard-line, and Pittsburgh had dodged an enormous bullet.

Needing a big drive, “Big Ben” came through.  He found Brown for 16 yards on 3rd and 9 to get out of the shadow of his own end zone, scrambled for 10 yards on 3rd and 12 to make the 4th down play more manageable near midfield, found Le’Veon Bell in the flat to convert on the next play, and finished the masterful drive with a one yard touchdown pass to Will Johnson in the corner of the end zone to put his team ahead 30-27.

Not to be outdone, the defense came up with one final turnover on the following drive when Will Allen picked off a desperation heave by Stafford at Pittsburgh’s 39 and returned it 27 yards to Detroit’s 34. Then on 3rd and 6 from the 20, Todd Haley and “Big Ben” went for broke and the win instead of a measly six-point lead with just over 2:30 to play.

After a pump fake, Detroit’s defense bit hard and Roethlisberger found a wide-open Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown!

Up 37-27 with just over 2:00 to play, Pittsburgh was in control and had the game sealed.

As many issues as there were, I can’t say enough about the defense for posting a shutout in the second half, limiting Johnson to zero catches during that span, and “Big Ben” for his late-game heroics. In addition, it was also nice to see Markus Wheaton making some contributions (three catches for 38 yards), Will Allen, Jason Worilds, and Cameron Heyward continuing to step up, and Mat McBriar even connecting on a booming 70 yard punt.

While the Steelers were far from perfect, it was nothing short of fantastic to see how they responded after their disastrous 27-point quarter. They played solid and inspired football as they found a way to win today, and I for one tip my cap to those who were involved in the victory.






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Tags: Antonio Brown Ben Roethlisberger Jerricho Cotchery Pittsburgh Steelers Will Allen

  • Dave

    Dominic, you should write for the Baltimore Sun. You are either the
    most negative Steeler fan in the history of football or you are an just
    writing about the Steelers to blog. You probably wear Cleveland Brown
    underwear! Even when they win, they show some positives, they score 38
    points, throw for 4 touchdowns, shut out Megatron for 3 quarters, you
    find something negative to write about. Day after day for 2 years I’ve
    been reading this crap you write about the Steelers. They are not going
    to win the Superbowl this year but there has been a few great things
    that have happened but do you want to write about it? NO! Even if they
    did win the Superbowl you would write an article about how many
    penalties they committed, or a turnover, or sacks allowed. You search
    and search for the negative. Get a life. You are not going to the play
    offs every year. You are not going to win 100 super bowls. Losing is
    part of football, it’s part of life. Learn from it, pick yourself up,
    and move on. The Steelers I saw today were not perfect but they are
    much better than the team that played the Titans in week one. This is a
    team in transition and adjustments need to be made in the off season.
    Who expected Fernando Velasco to be such a great lineman? What about
    Jerico Cotchery? What a great value pick up. He’s really catching on
    in his second year and will be cheap to keep for another year or two.
    Vince Williams? I thought he might have trouble making the squad but as
    a rookie he’s having a pretty good year. He might not be Levon
    Kirkland but I think we are going to see a lot more of him over the next
    couple of years. Shamarko Thomas has been everything that I expected
    and will replace Ryan Clark next year. Kelvin Beachum?!? Where do you
    find a guy like that? He can play every position on the line and do it
    well. How many times do you hear his name called for offside or holding
    aka Chris Kemoeatu?

    You write 75% negative posts about the Steelers and 25% positive. I
    remember seeing the Browns maul the Steelers 51-0 and then the next
    week Cincinnati won 41-10. That was another rebuilding year with a lot
    of new faces. I watched every minute of every game and we did go 9-7
    and make the playoffs. I don’t give up on my team. I back them up. I
    watch for them to improve after their failures. The difference between
    you and I is that I can see and acknowledge the improvements and you
    only look for disappointment. Go put on your Bungles lingerie and ask to write for the sports section in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    • CaptainAge


      Although it’s always great to try and validate your opinion of someones posts by quantifying your loyalty for the Steelers via the 1989 season history lesson, stick to picking apart his commentary via the contents of his posts – not what Dominic may be like outside of them. It’s ignorant and uncalled for. If you don’t like reading his posts – don’t read them – simple as that.

      • Dave

        So Dominic can bad mouth my team and I shouldn’t bad mouth Dominic? Wow CaptainAge…What color Raven panties does Dominic wear for you? The purple or pink ones?

        • Craig

          Stick to football, leave the personal attacks and underwear out or you can show yourself the door.

          • Dave

            Wow, very sensitive aren’t we Craig? So you expect everyone to agree with you or leave? Yinz don’t even live in PGH. The Steelers became my team at birth. When did you jump on the bandwagon?

          • Craig

            Agree or disagree, I don’t care. Stick to football. Many in Steeler Nation don’t live in Pittsburgh – are you questioning their fandom as well? Who made you the authority to determine who is a true fan and who isn’t. Sit back down.

            For the record I was born and lived in the Burgh for 23 years before I moved. When did you turn into a complete jag?

          • CaptainAge


            It isn’t “YOUR” team, unless you are one of the Rooney’s – which I doubt based on your outlandish comments. So, if people disagree with you, you attempt insults at them – Kindergarten called and they want their toys back Dave.

    • Nick Kelly

      So you want a writer that constantly writes happy-go-lucky stuff? He is a blogger that is entitled to his opinion, and if you don’t like his opinion, well thats not his fault. Its called an opinion for a reason. The defense was horrific in the second quarter, and he acknowledged that, but this post was really nothing but good things to say as he recapped the game.

      • Dom DiTolla

        Exactly, I highlighted the good from today’s game in the post. Yet what am I supposed to call 2/5 in the red zone? “Incredible?” “Outstanding?” What am I supposed to call 379 yards in the first half and 27 points in one quarter alone? “Terrific?”

        I can’t you’ve been reading my article for two years though. I must be living rent-free in your mind, which is pretty damn hilarious though. And we do appreciate the traffic :)

        • Josh Neff

          As much as i hate it, totally agree with you man…almost walked out of the bar after that second quater feista…but something told me to stay..which was good haha.

          • Dave

            The second quarter was horrendous. I don’t disagree with that. It is the everyday bad mouthing of the team and it’s players. Once you start doing it, it becomes a habit. Most of his posts are very negative about the Steelers. Its very difficult for him to post anything positive about the team that he claims to be a fan of. The defense is not nearly as good as it has been the previous ten years and the second quarter today was a perfect example of that.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Still looks like I’m living rent-free in your head, and the fact that you fantasize about me in different types of underwear is nothing short of hilarious, Mr. bitter, better, fan. :)

          • Dave

            Yes I fantasize about putting you on a street corner in a pair of pink panties and some 6 inch pumps so that you could make me a few dollars. I can’t think of any other way that you could possibly be useful Donna DiTolla.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Aww…how sweet of you. Lol. I do appreciate the site traffic since it seems like you can’t stay away, Mr. bitter, better fan. :)

            If you do have so much to say and so much criticism to throw out towards other writers though, maybe you should start writing for a Steelers-themed blog.

          • CaptainAge

            I think Dave has a crush on you Dom

        • Dave

          I read this web site because you surf all the twitter feeds and tell me any of the transactions that are going on regarding the Steelers before ESPN or I don’t read it because of your insightful opinion. You are the worst kind of fan. The kind that is always putting his own team down, even when they do well. You are the negative guy at the party always bringing everyone else down.

  • Justin

    I like Dominic’s writing, he’s someone who I feel can understand my rage when watching games. I look at the Steelers with Coach Cowher vision; even when we’re winning, there’s something to be screaming about. When we gave up those 27 points during the 2nd quarter I almost impaled myself on the tv remote.

  • Thumper833

    I’ll take the win and the effort from the D. I like seeing Heyward and Jones getting better every week. Also thought Will Allen had a great game. As to the second q, well, seems like in today’s nobody puts in a full 60 minutes of defense anymore on a consistent basis. As for the Red Zone woes, seems like that’s been trouble since before Haley showed up. Bad O line.

  • Thumper833

    Also, silver lining to the Sanders injury is more Wheaton. I would like to see what we have there….