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TIM AND MIKE: Preseason Week 2 observations

Tough task: It was Pittsburgh's starters against mostly reserves to start the game Saturday, and the outcome was fairly predictable early on. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdowns in his first three possessions as Pittsburgh jumped out to a 14-0 lead. They added a couple field goals in the second quarter and led Detroit 20-0 at halftime, having out-gained the Lions 285-to-65 in the first half. – Tim Twentyman

Wrong direction: The Lions played a relatively clean game in the opener vs. Buffalo, with only five penalties for 50 yards. They went over both those totals vs. the Steelers. They had six accepted penalties for 51 yards in the first half alone.– Mike O'Hara

View photos from Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Preseason Week 2 game at Heinz Field on Saturday, Aug. 21 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Stock up: Rookie cornerback AJ Parker has been earning reps with the first-team defense as the nickel corner in practice the last couple weeks. He's very much in the conversation for that starting role come the regular season. Parker was one of the few bright spots for the Lions' starters in the secondary Saturday. He recorded eight tackles, including two tackles for loss and a pass defended. The undrafted rookie out of Kansas State has been solid. – Tim Twentyman

Hat trick: Tight end Darren Fells got one that he certainly did not enjoy. Fells was flagged for three penalties in the first half – one for a false start and two for holding. The holding penalties were declined. – Mike O'Hara

Extended look: The Lions sat veterans Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow upfront along their offensive line. Penei Sewell, Jonah Jackson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai did start, however. But only Sewell was still in the game late into the second quarter. Sewell opted out of the 2020 college season, so last week in the preseason opener was his first game action in a year and a half. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said the rookie needs reps, and that's what he got Saturday. – Tim Twentyman

Big Ben's message: It looked like Roethlisberger was sending one to the rest of the AFC with his performance against the Lions: He completed eight of 10 passes for 137 yards and two TDs – all in just one quarter. – Mike O'Hara

Few bright spots: It was a preseason game to forget for Detroit overall Saturday, but there were a couple bright spots. I thought there was some good interior pressure upfront at times from youngsters Alim McNeill, Levi Onwuzurike and Bruce Hector. Rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes was active and all over the field for most of the second half.

Also, punter Jack Fox seems to be picking up right where he left off during his Pro Bowl 2020 season. Fox launched a 70-yard punt in the second quarter that flew over the returner's head and bounced out of bounds at the 3-yard line. That guy is a real weapon. – Tim Twentyman

Eye test: It didn't require looking at the stats to see how poorly the Lions played in the first half. There was no rhythm to the offense, and the defense missed numerous tackles. – Mike O'Hara

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