Cornerback Darius Slay has lined up against some of the best receivers this league has to offer. The Lions have asked Slay to cover the likes of Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. already this year. Sunday, it was Antonio Brown, who might be the best of them all.
Each time Slay's been asked to cover an elite receiver, he's stepped up to the task. He did so again Sunday.
For most of the game Slay was lined up against Brown and did a great job. He only allowed one catch for nine yards on four targets, per Pro Football Focus stats.
When Slay was targeted all game he allowed just a passer rating of 42.4. The one blemish on his night, however, was getting a pass interference penalty on a 3rd and 6 play with just a minute and 45 seconds left that gave Pittsburgh a first down and an eventual 20-15 victory.
Slay did say he and Brown have forged a friendship off the field, and both were looking forward to the competition. Slay won the head-to-head matchup, but Brown won the game.
"I guess I didn't do it good enough because we didn't win," Slay said after the game. "That's how I see it. I'd say I would have done a good job if we won, but nah, we lost, so I have to do a better job."
Slay joked that he particularly enjoyed spoiling Brown's celebration on what Brown thought was a third-quarter touchdown. The score was taken off the board when Brown was flagged for offensive pass interference by pushing off on Slay. The Steelers were forced to kick a field goal a few plays later.
"He knew he pushed off," Slay said.
Detroit's inability to score in the red zone (0-for-5) was a key to Detroit's loss, but so was a critical fumble by Golden Tate at the Pittsburgh 24-yard line after he made a terrific 36-yard catch.
After making the play on the ball and turning up field, Tate simply lost control of the football. It squirted out of his arm, and ultimately into the hands of Steelers cornerback Artie Burns.
After the game, Tate made no excuses for the blunder.
"Just at this moment, I'm frustrated with myself more so than anything," he said. "I feel like I could have done a couple things better, especially hold onto the ball. It was just me being a bad football player. Great play by everyone but me."
Tate finished with seven catches for 86 yards.
Safety Glover Quin recorded an interception and a fumble recovery vs. Pittsburgh. He now has a hand in six turnovers in seven games this season. The interception gave him 19 as a Detroit Lion, and gives him three this season, which marks the fourth time he's had at least three interceptions in a season in Detroit.
Quin, one of the team leaders, said his team has to dig deep after falling to 3-4 through seven games.
"Hey, we have nine games left," he said. "We run out these nine, we're still at 12-4. We have a lot of football left to play. I like the team. I like the guys on the team. I think we can get it done."
EBRON BOUNCES BACK
Lions fourth-year tight end Eric Ebron has been a bit of a lightning rod for criticism for some inconsistent play this season, but Ebron had a nice bounce-back game vs. Pittsburgh, catching a 44-yard pass late in the fourth quarter to set up the Lions' chance at a game-winning touchdown. Ebron caught two of his six targets for 58 yards.
"I always like to stick it out with the team that invested in me," Ebron said after the game when asked about Tuesday's NFL trade deadline. "If I'm here, I'm here. If not, I'll still be a happy man doing whatever I need to do."
Ebron joked that he wasn't a big fan of the Packers, so he'd like the opportunity to play in Green Bay next Monday night.