It can no longer be said of the 2021 Detroit Lions that they have lost every game. No, they still haven’t won a game, but coach Dan Campbell and the Lions managed to avoid a loss in a 16-16 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10.
The neutral outcome ended a bitterly underwhelming display of offensive football from the two teams. The dreary, rainy weather and atrocious condition of the overused Heinz Field turf did not help, but bad quarterback play and ponderous play-calling from both teams were far more culpable.
Now that it’s over, here’s everything we know in the immediate aftermath of the tie.
Final score: Lions 16, Steelers 16
(AP Photo/Don Wright)
Keys to the game
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit somehow managed to pound the rock for 229 rushing yards on 39 carries. It was the highest rushing total since Week 7 of the 2018 season, and the fact it was accomplished on a day where QB Jared Goff didn’t top 100 passing yards until the final play of overtime accurately demonstrates how well the Lions offensive line blocked and how successful the RBs were when attacking the Steelers.
D’Andre Swift started slowly but quickly showed confidence in the line, notably when the Lions offense deployed third tackle Matt Nelson as an extra blocker. Swift finished with 130 rushing yards on 29 carries.
The passing offense from both teams was terrifyingly inept. Steelers QB Mason Rudolph was thrust into action after veteran Ben Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Rudolph soft-tossed his way to 242 passing yards on 50 attempts, completing 30 of his attempts.
Points proved precious. None proved more precious than Ryan Santoso missing the extra point for Detroit after RB Godwin Igwebuike chugged into the end zone from 42 yards out to give the Lions a 16-10 lead early in the third quarter. Santoso missed a potential game-winner in overtime.
The Steelers hurt themselves with three turnovers, two of them lost fumbles late in the game. The Lions did not turn the ball over and were bolstered by some outstanding punting from Jack Fox and good all-around special teams.
It was over when...
(AP Foto/Keith Srakocic)
The Steelers had a somewhat promising last-gasp drive working before Lions safety Will Harris forced a fumble from Pittsburgh TE Pat Freiermuth at the Detroit 38-yard line with under a minute to play in overtime. Trey Flowers pounced on the ball to snuff out the Steelers threat.
Prior to that, it was either offense’s game for the taking. The two teams traded early touchdowns and the game margin was under one score for the entire contest. Neither offense proved capable of seizing the win.
Top 3 stars of the game
Third star: CB Amani Oruwariye – seven tackles, two PDs, one TFL, one fumble recovery
Second star: RB/KR Godwin Igwebuike – two carries for 56 yards including a 42-yard TD run, plus five kick returns averaging 24.4 yards
First star: RB D’Andre Swift – 130 rushing yards on 33 carries, plus three receptions for five yards
Other key stats
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
What's next for the Lions?
(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
The Lions stay within the AFC North in Week 11 with a trip to Cleveland to face the Browns. Cleveland is 5-5 after getting blown off the field in a 45-7 road loss to New England on Sunday.