The Steelers defeated the Lions 20-15 to go into the bye week with a 6-2 record, best in the AFC. The Lions had plenty of chances in the red zone, but the Steelers defense stopped them every time, and that was the difference in the game. Oh, and a guy named JuJu… Let’s look at the winners and losers:
JuJu Smith-Schuster had himself quite a week. He got called out by Martavis Bryant and handled that well. Then his bike was stolen and recovered – that became the main story in Pittsburgh news. Then tonight, he had one of the greatest games a Steelers wide receiver has ever had. He had 7 receptions for 193 yards on 10 targets. One of them was a 97 yard touchdown catch, which was the longest touchdown catch in Steelers history. How do you follow up a week like that? Will they name him mayor?
Red Zone Defense
The Lions had 7 chances in the red zone and didn’t score a touchdown on any of the chances. Some of that is because of questionable calls by the Lions, but mostly it was the defense being incredible in the red zone. The Lions didn’t come close to scoring a touchdown in any of the chances.
Matthew Stafford passed for 423 yards against the top-rated Steelers defense – a defense that allowed 147 yards per game before this game. The Lions were dealing with injuries to their offensive line but they were excellent in protecting Stafford, only giving up 2 sacks. The Lions couldn’t score in the red zone but they had no problem moving the ball into the red zone.
Does the name Wally Pipp ring a bell? Bryant was inactive for the game because of his antics on social media and interview demanding a trade. In his absence, JuJu Smith-Schuster had a fantastic game, getting almost as many yards in one game as Bryant has had all season. Did Bryant just move down the depth chart?
One player that didn’t take advantage of Bryant’s absence was Eli Rogers. He dropped a very easy touchdown in the first half and didn’t get another target after that.
Lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan here.