The Steelers gave up 27 points in a quarter and won.
Despite giving up 27 points in a 15-minute span, the Steelers won a football game.
The Steelers overcame a 27-point second quarter Detroit outburst to win a football game.
DUDE WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF THAT STEELERS WIN?!
What I'm illustrating above is that there's a terrific number of ways to look at this Steelers win and all the good and bad contained within. There were three quarters where Pittsburgh looked like the Steelers of old, and I don't just mean aesthetically with the bumblebee jerseys. There was the one bad quarter that basically summed up everything that has gone wrong with this team in 2013 save for the offense refusing to turn the ball over. There was the Steelers settling for FGs. And then there was the defense just disappearing and letting the opposition move the ball at will.
Only the Steelers showed up for two more quarters than the Lions, and took control of a game that very easily could've gotten out of hand. Make no mistake, 15 minutes of awful football nearly did the team in, but the Steelers saw to it that those down moments didn't decide their fate.
Ben: Just a stellar game from Big Ben. 29 of 45 for 367 yards and four TDs. While Matt Stafford was racking up stats and accolades in that suspect second quarter, Ben stayed calm and just continued to work for the full 60 minutes. And he was at his best when it counted. On the go-ahead 97 yard TD drive in the fourth, Ben completed a great third down pass to Antonio Brown from his own goal line, converted a nifty fourth down pass later and capped it with just a perfect toss to Will Johnson for the score. A quick Lions INT later and Ben was back in business with a gorgeous TD pass to Jerricho Cotchery. 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. A nearly flawless game, and Ben gets the full amount of MMCNY helmets in this recap for facing Rashean Mathis and not throwing a pick. That guy has been Ben's nightmare.
Antonio Brown: One could legitimately argue that AB showed up physical freak Calvin Johnson in the matchup of stud WRs, in that AB didn't disappear over the latter half of the game and his contributions directly influenced a win. Sure, Megatron had more yards (179 to Brown's 147) and the purely insane 79-yard score. He also failed to show up after halftime. Brown's production took a dip in that weak Steelers second quarter, but he still showed up with timely catches late in the game with the outcome riding on those drives. The previosuly-mentioned 16 yard catch on third and nine with Ben standing at his own goal line and the Steelers down four can arguably be considered the largest catch of the game, and this was well after AB nabbed two TDs of over 30 yards where he embarrassed the Lions' tacklers. 4.5 of 5 helmets. He bobbled a sure TD prior to Will Johnson's score and I gotta take off for that lest I be too generous and give everyone the maximum amount of motorcycle helmets.
Defense: To quote my bud OFTOT on the first half and the insanity of the defense's second quarter struggles:
it was the best of times, IT WAS THE WORST OF F***ING TIMES
A tale of two halves indeed. Matt Stafford threw for 300+ and the Lions put up 27 points in a first half initially dominated by the Steelers. And then the D stepped up in the latter 30 minutes, holding Stafford to three completions on 16 attempts while Megatron went without a catch. Will Allen picked Stafford off. Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Clark picked up timely fumbles. And many words should be written about Allen's all-around game and Cam Heyward truly coming into his own. Jason Worilds had eight tackles, all of them solo, one being a huge sack. The D was lights out aside from the second quarter which sadly cannot be overlooked when trying to adequately rate their performance. 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets, one for each turnover recovered as well as for the number of good quarters played.
Matt McBriar: Wha-what? Punter du jour gets a spot in the MMCNY recap? He does despite shanking one or two punts, because his first punt of the second half pretty much turned the tide of the game. The Steelers came out in the second half with the ball down a touchdown after that otherworldly second quarter only to go three-and-out on a challenged and reversed Cotchery catch. That might've spelled doom with the Steelers deep in their own territory. McBriar responded with an enormous 70-yard punt that absolutely noone saw coming. Play went from the Steelers' 20 yard line to the Lions' 12. Detroit answered with a three-and-out of their own, the field position battle changed dramatically and Pittsburgh came back with a FG to cut the lead further. And Detroit never answered, all thanks to some sort of needed superpunt. Does superpunt change the 2013 Steelers outcome? 4 of 5 motorcycle helmets. With as many shanks as McBriar has had in his short Steelers tenure, that 70-yarder gets it's own helmet rating.
Pittsburgh travels to Cleveland next week with a chance to build on the long-awaited momentum the 2013 season has been missing for so long. Because don't look now, but the 4-6 Steelers are just one game out in the wild card race.