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(Sunday, October 11th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 28, Detroit 20
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes as the Pittsburgh Steelers downed the Detroit Lions, 28-20, at Ford Field.
Roethlisberger went 23-for-30 with 277 yards and a pick while Rashard Mendenhall had 77 yards on 15 carries with a score for the Steelers (3-2), who have won their last two games. Hines Ward, Heath Miller and Mike Wallace each caught a score in the win.
"We still have some things we need to work on here," said Roethlisberger. "I can only speak for the offense, but we really need to put the nail in the coffin when it comes down to it."
James Harrison was the defensive star for Pittsburgh as he finished the contest with three sacks and eight tackles. The Steelers defense had seven sacks in the game.
"We executed in detail," said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. "We put together some rush combinations at the end with some great detail and energy and some good coverage on the back end and were able to finish the game out. It's kind of a signature of winning football, winning defense and we were able to do it today."
The last time Pittsburgh played in Detroit was in Super Bowl XL, which saw the team defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, for its fifth Super Bowl title.
Daunte Culpepper played the game under center for Detroit (1-4) and went 23- for-37 with 282 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Culpepper started in place of rookie Matthew Stafford, who sat out due to a right knee injury he suffered in last week's loss at Chicago.
"We knew it was gonna be a tough game," said Culpepper. "We took some punches and gave some punches, but unfortunately we didn't make enough plays to come out with the win."
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who had one catch for two yards, left after the first quarter with a right knee injury. He stayed on the sidelines in the second half with tape on the knee.
"We didn't always play smart in this game and we didn't always play good in this game," said Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz. "But there's one thing you can say is that this team battled. We came into the game shorthanded and had some injuries early. There were times in this game we could have quit, but our guys fought through it and we were in it till the end."
Trailing by eight points to start the second half, Detroit went on a 13-play drive that ate up almost seven minutes. But the Lions came away empty as Jason Hanson's 49-yard field goal attempt went just wide right.
The Steelers needed just four plays to get in the end zone, as Roethlisberger sent a deep pass to a wide open Wallace, who caught the ball in the end zone for a 47-yard score and a 28-13 lead with 6:05 left in the third.
The Lions were driving on their next possession and got into Steelers territory, but Culpepper threw the ball away as he was being pressured and Ryan Clark picked off the floater.
With under eight minutes to play in the game, the Lions started a drive at their own 18 and eventually scored. Facing a 3rd-and-5, Culpepper moved the chains on a five-yard dump pass to Dennis Northcutt. Three plays later, Culpepper again turned to Northcutt, who made a leaping catch in the middle of the end zone from 25 yards out to make it a 28-20 game with 4:57 to play.
Detroit's defense then forced the Steelers into a three-and-out, and the Lions took over at their 29. Catches of 18 and 19 yards by Derrick Williams got the ball across midfield, and a 22-yard reception by Northcutt got Detroit into scoring position at the two-minute warning.
However, the Steelers defense sacked Culpepper on the next three plays, and on 4th-and-34 Culpepper's desperation heave to the end zone was knocked down by Ike Taylor to seal the win.
After holding the Steelers to a three-and-out on the first drive of the game, Detroit got on the board. Culpepper converted a pair of 3rd-and-11s on the 10- play drive, as he ran for 32 yards, and later hit Maurice Morris on a 16-yard screen. But the Lions stalled at the Pittsburgh 27 and a 46-yard boot by Hanson made it a 3-0 game just under six minutes in.
Pittsburgh, though, answered quickly, using six plays to get a TD. Mendenhall had a 27-yard run up the middle to keep the Steelers going, and later ran around the right end untouched into the end zone from seven yards out.
Detroit got a big play from Jerome Felton on the ensuing drive, as the fullback caught a pass over the middle for 27 yards to help set up another 46- yard field goal by Hanson, making it a 7-6 game with 2:23 left in the first.
With a drive that spanned the first and second quarters, the Steelers took an eight-point lead, as Roethlisberger found Miller on a tight end screen over the middle. Miller took it in from 15 yards out with 10:37 left in the half.
A three-and-out by Detroit got the ball back in Roethlisberger's hands, but he was picked off by William James, who took the pick into the end zone from 38 yards out to make it a 14-13 game with 6:52 to play.
Pittsburgh, though, got a 47-yard kickoff return from Stefan Logan. Six plays later, Roethlisberger dumped the ball over the middle to Ward, who stretched into the end zone on a 17-yard TD for a 21-13 lead with 3:51 left.
Hanson's missed field goal was his first of the season. He was 9-for-9 prior to the miss...Wallace's touchdown catch was the first of his career...Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland next week...Detroit has a road game in Green Bay next Sunday...Ward led Pittsburgh's receivers with seven catches for 85 yards while Northcutt led Detroit's with five catches for 70 yards...The Steelers have won seven of the last eight games against the Lions...Roethlisberger had a passer rating of 123.9. Including the playoffs, the team is 31-2 when he has a 100-plus rating.
10/11 20:44:06 ET