After a failed fake field-goal attempt by the Detroit Lions, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led a 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to put the Pittsburgh Steelers ahead for good in a 37-27 victory.
His offense stagnated for much of the second and third quarters, but Big Ben was surgical on the pivotal drive. He went 7-of-10 passing with the touchdown throw that gave the Steelers a 30-27 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Roethlisberger finished with 367 yards passing, four touchdown passes and a win that keeps the 4-6 Steelers' slim hopes alive for the final wild-card berth.
Here is what else we learned:
1. The Steelers defense stepped up huge in the second half. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's group shut out the Lions after giving up 27 second-quarter points. His defense held Matthew Stafford to just 35 yards passing in the second half, after the quarterback put up 327 yards in the first half.
2. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson destroyed Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor in the first half, catching six passes for 179 yards. The Steelers' defense shut him down in the second half, as Megatron had zero receptions after halftime. Credit LeBeau's second-half adjustments.
3. Lions coach Jim Schwartz's decision to run a fake field goal with rookie punter Sam Martin on fourth-and-5 from the 10-yard line while up four points in the fourth quarter will be heavily debated. The failure completely swung momentum and set up Roethlisberger's heroics.
4. The Lions' defensive line couldn't take advantage of a makeshift Steelers offensive line. Roethlisberger had plenty of time to carve up a shaky Lions defensive backfield. The Detroit secondary had a terrible time tackling Steelers wide receivers. Antonio Brown had two long touchdown runs off of quick passes after Lions DBs whiffed. Chris Houston, specifically, was terrible.
5. Drops played a huge role for both teams on both sides of the ball. Taylor dropped two would-be interceptions. Linebacker DeAndre Levy dropped one for the Lions. Detroit wide receivers didn't help out Stafford much, dropping multiple catchable balls. Even Megatron had an early drop.
6. Stafford still has streaks where he sails passes high. He hasn't mastered swing routes yet.