The preseason is underway as the Detroit Lions beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-17 on Friday in Pittsburgh. The Steelers didn’t show a lot of starters mainly because most of them sat the entire game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, receiver Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, running Backs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, center Maurkice Pouncey, linebackers Bud Dupree and Jarvis Jones and finally first round pick Corner Artie Burns all didn’t play a single down during the game either, due to keeping them fresh for the regular season – for Burns it was to rest up an injury.
With these many stars sitting on the sideline, it opened up a lot of chances for the younger guys to play and to prove themselves. One of which was second string quarterback Landry Jones as he played the entire first half for the Steelers, throwing six of 12 for 55-yards and hitting receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey for a touchdown on a beautiful, on the money pass. He wasn’t asked to do that much as the Steelers for their first three drives went three and out.
For the Lions, the offense under quarterback Matthew Stafford looked efficient. In his one drive, the former first overall pick threw four of six for 56-yards and led the Lions down the field only to turn it over on a fumble. The gunslinger looked cool and collective during the drive and made some start passes to drive the ball. His one turnover came from not getting rid of the ball quick enough with the pocket collapsing on him. One of his new targets, receiver Marvin Jones, didn’t have that much of an impact in his first game. The former Bengal caught one ball for 11-yards throughout his time on the field. Now, this is preseason and Jones didn’t get that much time on the field, but Jones is stepping in some big shoes left by Megatron so any type of pedestrian game he has, it’ll be compared to Johnson every time.
After that drive, the Lions once again turned over the ball on a awful play by the second string quarterback Dan Orlovsky. The second he had the ball, the pocket collapsed thanks to seventh-year defensive end Ricardo Mathews, and Orlovsky tried to throw the ball out of bounds but instead threw it right at second-year cornerback Doran Grant for a touchdown. It was a great play from the two Steeler defenders who are fighting for playing time while for Orlovsky, it was just a awful throw. Grant, who also led the team in tackles made his argument to be from second string to first and his play will be interesting to keep an eye on.
For the Lions, the kickoff team might have someone new back to return with Golden Tate. In the fourth quarter, Detroit’s seventh round rookie Dwanye Washington returned a kickoff 99-yard for a touchdown to effectively seal the game. With a play like that, the Lions might keep the young stud back there to see if he can repeat that magic.
The Steelers looked a bit off all day on third down, earning a fresh set of downs only two times out of 12. They also only had ten first downs to the Lions’ 20. This very much could just be the fact that most of the starters weren’t playing and it shouldn’t be that big of a concern when the regular season starts.
The Lions will play the Bengals next Thursday in Detroit and the Steelers will play their in a state competition against the Eagles at Pittsburgh next Thursday as well.