PITTSBURGH – It wasn't a win. But it wasn't a loss either.
The Lions snapped their eight-game losing streak to start the 2021 season by playing Pittsburgh to a 16-16 tie Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Lions had an opportunity to win the game in overtime on a Ryan Santoso 48-yard field goal attempt, but his kick was short and right. Detroit's defense preserved the tie late in overtime by forcing a turnover. Detroit forced two turnovers total in overtime.
It's the first tie for the Lions since they opened the 2019 season with a 27-27 tie in Arizona. They finished 3-12-1 that year.
The Lions got back to basics on offense Sunday in the cold and rainy conditions in Pittsburgh.
They rushed for a season-high 229 yards, led by D’Andre Swift's 130, his second career 100-yard rushing game.
The Steelers started the game with a 10-play, 83-yard drive capped off with a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mason Rudolph to wide receiver James Washington to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead.
Detroit tied the score at 7-7 with Jefferson's 28-yard run. It was set up by a 48-yard punt return by Kalif Raymond.
After trading field goals late in the second quarter and going to the half tied 10-10, the Lions took their first lead of the game on Igwebuike's 42-yard touchdown on Detroit's first possession of the second half. Santoso, who was filling in for the injured Austin Seibert, missed the extra point, and the Lions took a 16-10 lead.
Pittsburgh added field goals midway through the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 16-16.
The Steelers were driving the ball late in overtime looking to kick a game-winning field goal, but tight end Pat Freiermuth fumbled after a short completion at the Lions' 39-yard line with 10 seconds left in overtime. Lions safety Will Harris came up and knocked the ball free, and outside linebacker Trey Flowers jumped on it. The Lions had eight seconds left on the clock and tried some laterals, but were pushed out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 40-yard line to end the game.
QB comparison: Jared Goff completed 14 of his 25 passes for 114 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He finished with a 67.8 passer rating.
Rudolph was 30-for-50 passing for 242 yards with a touchdown and interception (Julian Okwara). He finished with a 70.6 passer rating.
Key moment: The Lions missed Seibert in this one. Seibert is 10-for-12 kicking field goals and a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points on the season, but he injured his right hip this week and was placed on IR Saturday.
The Lions elevated Santoso from the practice squad. He was 1-for-2 on field goals and 1-for-2 on extra points. The missed extra point in the third quarter loomed large in this one.
Injury report: Jefferson's touchdown run came at a cost for the Lions. He was brought down from behind going into the end zone and hurt his ankle. He limped to the sideline and was eventually carted to the locker room. He did not return.
Starting safety Tracy Walker left the game early in the third quarter after taking the worst of a big hit on Rudolph. He also did not return to the game.
Flowers (knee), tackle Matt Nelson (ankle) and cornerback Jerry Jacobs (groin) also left the game in the second half. Only Flowers returned.
Next up: at Cleveland (5-5).