There’s little sense in drawing too many conclusions from an NFL preseason game. Still, after Saturday’s performance, the Detroit Lions clearly have a lot to clean up with Week 1 inching closer.
A listless first half put the Lions in a deep hole and their late rally came up short in a 26-20 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Saturday night. With just one exhibition game remaining, the Lions have a lot of work to do before their opener against the San Francisco 49ers on September 12th.
Several key Lions did not play in the contest, including quarterback Jared Goff, tight end T.J. Hockenson and offensive linemen Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow. Tim Boyle started under center for Detroit and finished 7/15 for just 44 yards.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, entering his 18th season with the Steelers, helped Pittsburgh open the scoring midway through the first quarter. He capped a nine-play drive with a 11-yard touchdown toss to rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, and found him in the end zone again on the next series for an early 14-0 advantage.
At halftime, the Lions trailed 20-0, with just 65 yards of offense and having committed six penalties. They converted just four first downs to Pittsburgh’s 13.
The Lions did not score until the first play of the final frame when running back Godwin Igwebuike scampered into the end zone from seven yards out. Quarterback David Blough, who relieved Boyle early in the third quarter, engineered two more late touchdown drives to account for the final score.
Wideout Tom Kennedy led Detroit with 61 receiving yards while former Lions tight end Eric Ebron paced the Steelers with 59 yards through the air. Roethlisberger left after three drives, after going 8/10 passing for 137 yards and two scores. Backups Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins combined to go 17/25 for 194 yards in relief.
The Lions will wrap up their preseason slate next Friday, August 27th at 7:00 P.M. EST when they host the Indianapolis Colts.