The Detroit Lions' offense moved the football almost at will Sunday night against a very good Pittsburgh Steelers defense, but their inability to finish drives with touchdowns was their ultimate undoing.
Five Matt Prater field goals were all the points the Lions could muster, despite gaining 482 total yards of offense, and Detroit fell 20-15 to Pittsburgh.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions' Week 8 game vs. Pittsburgh Steelers.
Too many Lions drives simply stalled in the red zone, including two inside the Steelers 2-yard line and another at the Steelers 8-yard line. Two of those drives didn't result in any points at all. Detroit's inability to punch it in the end zone was the biggest difference in the game.
A Golden Tate fumble midway through the fourth quarter at the Pittsburgh 24-yard line was also a killer.
The Steelers got touchdowns from Le'Veon Bell (5 yards) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (97), and two Chris Boswell field goals for their 20 points.
Fourth and 1: Talk about a momentum changer. The Lions had an opportunity to take a 15-13 lead late in the third quarter with a chip-shot Prater field goal, but instead, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell was aggressive and went for the touchdown.
Matthew Stafford was sacked on the play, and the Lions came away with no points.
On the ensuing Pittsburgh drive, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 97-yard touchdown over the middle. In a matter of a couple minutes, it went from a potential Lions lead to a 20-12 deficit.
QB Comparison: Stafford threw for 423 yards, completing 27 of 45 passes, but didn't record a touchdown. He didn't throw an interception, either. He finished with a passer rating of 91.2.
Ben Roethlisberger was 17-of-31 passing for 317 yards with a touchdown and an interception (Glover Quin). He finished with a passer rating of 87.7.
Key stat(s): Three stats stick out like a sore thumb in this one for the Lions:
- 0-for-5 in red zone
- 2-for-12 on third down.
- Three quarterback hits on defense with no sacks
Jones & Jones: Marvin Jones Jr. and TJ Jones provided a nice boost for the offense. Marvin Jones Jr. caught six of his 11 targets for 128 yards with a long of 43.
TJ Jones hauled in four of his eight targets for 88 yards.
Injury report: The Lions lost running back Dwayne Washington to a concussion in the fourth quarter. Guard Tim Lelito injured a thigh in the second half and didn't return.
Right tackle Rick Wagner left the game briefly in the second half with an ankle injury, but he returned and finished the game.