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Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is tackled in need of the purpose line on fourth down within the third quarter of the 20-15 loss to the Steelers at Ford Discipline on Sunday.(Photograph: Tim Fuller, USA TODAY Sports activities)

Nothing was working, so Matthew Stafford determined to maintain the ball in his personal arms. And similar to all the pieces else the Detroit Lions tried within the pink zone, it got here up brief.

The Lions made 5 journeys to the pink zone Sunday and left 5 occasions with no landing as they misplaced their third straight recreation in soul-crushing style, 20-15, to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

• Field rating

The Lions racked up 482 yards of offense in opposition to the NFL’s No. 1 protection, however mustered solely 5 Matt Prater area objectives that accounted for all of their factors.

“Didn’t execute nicely sufficient,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell mentioned. “Simply missed right here and there and didn’t shield nicely sufficient down there, didn’t run the ball nicely sufficient down there. We simply didn’t operate very nicely in that space. And in opposition to a workforce like that, in opposition to a very good soccer workforce, except you rating touchdowns it’s very troublesome to beat them kicking area objectives all day.”

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The Lions ran 17 performs contained in the Steelers’ 20-yard line Sunday for 9 yards. They did not punch the ball in 3 times from the 1 within the third quarter, and within the recreation’s largest flip of occasions, gave up a back-breaking 97-yard landing move.

Stafford threw for a season-high 423 yards, however he accomplished 2-for-11 pbades for six yards within the pink zone and took one sack.

He was stopped for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal scramble play with Four:31 left within the third quarter that appeared to suck the life out of the Ford Discipline followers.

“It’s a move play, however they dropped seven guys into protection on that play,” Stafford mentioned. “It parted and thought I had an opportunity to possibly make a play to Dwayne (Washington) or run it in, and proper as I used to be about to sort of do one thing I bought hit.”


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The Lions, who struggled to maneuver the ball between the 20s for many of the first six weeks, had no such downside Sunday.

Stafford picked aside the Steelers’ secondary, and receivers Marvin Jones (six catches, 128 yards), TJ Jones (4 catches, 88 yards) and Golden Tate (seven catches, 86 yards) all had large days.

Stafford put the Lions in first-and-goal conditions from the Steelers’ Four-yard line twice within the second half.

Late within the third quarter, with the Lions down 13-12, Washington gained Three yards to the 1 on first down earlier than Stafford threw incomplete to Marvin Jones on second down. Washington was stopped for no achieve on third down, and although proper deal with Rick Wagner had simply left the sport with an ankle harm, the Lions stored their offense on the sector for one more play.

Stafford dropped again to move, however took off up the center when none of his 4 receivers got here instantly open. Marvin Jones was double-covered on the play, tight finish Darren Fells was jammed on the line of scrimmage, and the Steelers performed cloud protection with three defenders hovering over high of TJ Jones and Eric Ebron.

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) runs for a 97-yard landing in the course of the third quarter in opposition to the Lions on Sunday. (Photograph: Tim Fuller, USA TODAY Sports activities)

The Steelers took over at their very own 2 on downs, and three performs later, rookie Juju Smith-Schuster beat Quandre Diggs with a juke transfer on the line of scrimmage and caught a 97-yard landing down the seam of the sector.

“He had one thing just like that earlier within the recreation and he tried to sort of juke the man and provides him an out transfer after which go up,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger mentioned. “I informed him, ‘Hear. Subsequent time you get that look … beat him with velocity. Simply get down there.’ And that’s what he did, and I threw it excessive and I informed him, I didn’t know he had that a lot velocity. He mentioned he didn’t know both.”

The Lions had first-and-goal on the Steelers Four once more on the following collection, however Stafford threw incomplete to Ebron on first down and Washington was stopped for brief positive factors on second and third down.

The Lions opted to kick a area purpose slightly than go for it on fourth-and-goal on the 1.

“We tried to be aggressive and go after it the primary time round and recreation was slightly bit afterward the following time round and so we kicked it and nonetheless gave ourselves an opportunity to win it a pair occasions,” Caldwell mentioned. “Simply couldn’t get it performed. Turnover and simply ineffectiveness.”

The Lions had two extra possibilities to tie, however Tate misplaced a fumble after a 34-yard catch in Steelers territory on the following possession and the Lions failed on 4 extra possibilities contained in the Pittsburgh 20 the ultimate time they’d the ball.

Stafford checked right into a run on third-and-5 from the 6 that was stopped for a 2-yard loss simply earlier than the 2-minute warning, and he threw incomplete to Ebron on the following play to seal the loss.

“I simply suppose we have now to return with a unique mentality,” Ebron mentioned. “The pink zone is for winners and we simply bought to win. We get all the way in which to the pink zone and we don’t rating and that’s tough.”

Dwayne Washington is stopped on the purpose line by Steelers defenders in the course of the third quarter. (Photograph: Kirthmon F. Dozier DFP)

The Lions, who fell to Three-Four with the loss — 2.5 video games behind the Minnesota Vikings (6-2) within the NFC North — held Steelers stars Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown largely in examine.

Bell had 76 yards dashing on 25 carries and one landing, and Brown caught 5 pbades for 70 yards, together with a 40-yarder to arrange Bell’s rating.

Smith-Schuster completed with seven catches for 193 yards for the Steelers.

The Lions, in response to Soccer Outsiders, completed with the third most yards in NFL historical past with out scoring a landing.

“It’s very irritating,” Ebron mentioned. “It’s the toughest factor to do within the NFL, rating touchdowns. We simply have to get higher at it. It’s not that tough when you might have as many playmakers as we do. We simply have to make the most of them and do it.”

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Contact Dave Birkett: [email protected] Comply with him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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