Roethlisberger throws four TDs as Steelers down Lions
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Roethlisberger had a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to help the Pittsburgh Steelers take a 37-27 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Roethlisberger went 29-for-45 for 367 yards and four touchdowns, with Antonio Brown catching seven passes for 147 yards and two scores for the Steelers (4-6), who have won two straight.
Will Johnson and Jerricho Cotchery caught TD passes in the fourth quarter as Pittsburgh ran its home winning streak against Detroit to nine games with the Lions' last win in the Steel City coming in 1955.
"Boy, that's a satisfying victory. A good, tough week for us, not only in terms of the game but from a preparation standpoint," said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. "Obviously, we were going to be tested and that's a good football team. We'll take it and move forward."
Detroit scored all of its points in the second quarter, with the offense being non-existent in the other 45 minutes of play.
Matthew Stafford was 19-for-46 for 362 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while Calvin Johnson caught both scores as part of a six-catch, 179-yard day for the Lions (6-4), who had won their previous two coming into the game.
"We just didn't execute very well for three quarters of the game," said Stafford. "We didn't capitalize in the red zone as much as we needed to and that's something we've got to improve. We've got to bounce back because we have a couple of games real close to each other coming up."
The loss, coupled with the Bears' overtime win against the Ravens on Sunday, now sees Detroit and Chicago tied for the top spot in the NFC North, but Detroit holds the tiebreaker thanks to winning both games against Chicago this season.
Holding a four-point lead entering the fourth quarter, the Lions drove down to the Pittsburgh 10 and lined up for a field goal on 4th-and-5. The team opted for the fake, though, as Sam Martin took the direct snap and ran to the right side before fumbling. Pittsburgh took over at its own 3.
"I don't regret anything that happens in a game because we're going to do our very best to win," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "We didn't make enough plays to win this one, including that one."
The Steelers quickly faced a 3rd-and-9, but Roethlisberger hit Brown for 16 yards to move the chains. A Heath Miller catch went for 21 yards to move the ball across midfield, and Le'Veon Bell caught a pass for three yards on 4th- and-2.
After Cotchery caught a pass for 19 yards down to the Detroit 1, Roethlisberger used play-action before tossing a floater to the right side where Johnson came down with the catch for a 30-27 lead with 4:46 to play.
Stafford went deep on 3rd-and-10 for Johnson, and had the ball picked off by Will Allen. Five plays later, Roethlisberger found a wide open Cotchery for a 20-yard score to seal the win.
It was all Pittsburgh and Brown in the first quarter as the Steelers held the Lions on 4th-and-3 on the opening drive of the game, and went to work at their own 32.
After tipping away a Stafford pass to Johnson on 4th-and-3, Bell took a handoff 13 yards. Facing a 3rd-and-8, Roethlisberger hit Miller for nine yards. Brown caught a pass for 11 yards on another third down to move the chains, and the next play saw him catch a short pass out to the right, break two tackles and race into the end zone from 34 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Pittsburgh then held Detroit to a three-and-out, getting the ball back at its own 37. Four plays later, Roethlisberger stepped up in the pocket to toss a short pass to Brown, who caught it near the Detroit 40 and took the ball home for a 47-yard score and a 14-0 lead with 3:58 to play in the first.
In a drive spanning the first and second quarter, the Lions were able to put three points on the board with David Akers' 35-yard boot. The drive covered 50 yards over 10 plays.
Following a Pittsburgh three-and-out, Detroit got the ball back in excellent field position, but Reggie Bush fumbled the ball on a carry and Pittsburgh recovered at the Detroit 32.
Detroit's defense, though, prevented the Steelers from getting in the end zone and Shaun Suisham hit a 25-yard field goal for a 17-3 lead with 10:31 to play in the first half.
It didn't take long for the Lions to answer as the first play saw Stafford throw the ball deep for Johnson, who easily beat the sole defender covering him and jogged into the end zone for a 79-yard score.
Pittsburgh came back with a scoring drive as Suisham's 34-yard field goal gave the team a 10-point lead with 7:19 to play, but Detroit scored the next 17 points to take the lead going into the break.
A 31-yard catch from Brandon Pettigrew on 3rd-and-11 moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 44, and the next play saw Kris Durham catch a pass for 25 yards. Johnson then caught a pass near the goal line and took it in for a 19-yard score.
Following a three-and-out from the Steelers, the Lions started with the ball at their own 38, and Stafford hit Johnson for 23 yards with Joique Bell following with a 37-yard catch. Two plays later, Bell took a handoff up the middle on a 2-yard score and a 24-20 lead with 1:42 to play.
The Steelers again failed to convert a first down, losing nine yards in the process, and the Lions got the ball back with 1:02 to play near midfield.
They only came away with three points, however, as Akers booted a 19-yard field goal after three straight incompletions on 1st-and-goal at the 1, as the team took a 27-20 lead into the break.
The only points of the third quarter came on a 21-yard field goal from Suisham to cap a 10-play, 42-yard drive to make it a 27-23 game with 5:14 to play.
It was the first time the Steelers put points on the board this season on their opening drive ... The first TD pass to Johnson was Stafford's 100th of his career, and also saw him pass Bobby Layne's 15,710 yards for most all-time for the Lions ... Pittsburgh wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders left the game with an injured foot ... Pittsburgh controlled the ball for 32:16, but were outgained 451-398 ... Pittsburgh has won four straight against the Lions, and leads the series 16-14-1 ... The Lions host the Buccaneers next Sunday ... The Steelers play at Cleveland next week.
11/17 19:24:49 ET