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Lions Lose to Steelers in week-5

With less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Lions had the ball and were 8 points down. They were well within field goal range but it was not an option. They needed the touchdown and a two point conversion to tie it. At the Steelers 21 yard line Culpepper took the snap and all hell broke loose.

The Steelers sent a full compliment of blitzers from Culpeppers right side and the defensive back came through untouched. Culpepper was dropped for a six yard loss.

2nd and 16 at the Steelers 27 yard line Culpepper took a snap in the no-huddle offense. Pittsburgh sent the same blitz and the Lions reacted the same way. A sack for a five yard loss.

3rd down and 21 yards to go from the Steelers 32 yard line. What do the Steelers do? Send another full blitz. For the third straight play the Lions could not even begin to slow down the blitz and Culpepper was dropped for a loss of 13 yards.

So now it is 4th down and 34 yards to go at the Steelers 45 yard line. The Lions only hope was to throw a Hail Mary. Culpepper took the snap, dropped back and actually got the pass off. The pass came down at the goal line where a group of Steelers defensemen were waiting. The Lions receivers were all waiting outside hoping for a tip. The tip came and the ball landed where no receivers stood. Game over. The Lions lost to the defending Superbowl Champions 28-20.

Listening to the radio after the game, I heard a lot of things from callers. They complained about the stands being 80% Steelers fans. They complained that Culpepper did not look like an NFL Starting QB. They complained that the Lions choked when the game was on the line. I learned something today. Most fans do not know what they are talking about.

Daunte Culpepper was 23 of 37 for 282 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception. Those are decent numbers. Considering he did this while being sacked seven times because the offensive line rarely gave him time to throw says he played very well. The fact that Culpepper rushed 3 times for 44 yards, two of them coming when he avoided a heavy rush and ran for first downs to keep drives going. Considering Culpepper did this against a very good team with no rushing game to take some of the pressure of of him and in his first and only start of the season? I give the veteran quarterback a solid "A" for his performance. Oh, did I mention that he put up those numbers with Calvin Johnson on the sideline all game with an injury?

The only real knock on Culpepper in today's loss was his interception, which is the reason so many were upset with him. The ball came out of his hands after the snap and he had to scramble to pick it up. When he finally got a hold of the ball, he had two Steelers coming hard at him and he turned and threw the ball across the field. The ball fluttered into the stomach of another Steeler. Announcers said it was a horrible decision. Fans said it was a stupid pass. I disagree.

If you can see a replay of the pass, you will notice the ball sailed over the head of a Lion. If the pass would have been lower, it would have ended in a first down and Culpepper would have been heralded for such a great job. Under the extreme pressure, his only real stupid mistake came from throwing the ball without setting his feet which is the reason it was thrown off target and too high. Culpepper did not throw a blind pass and he did not throw a pass at a covered player. He saw the open receiver and it was a smart pass to throw. He simply threw it to high.

The Lions didn't choke with the game on the line. When the game was on the line, the defending Champs exploited the Lions offense greatest weakness. The offensive line! The Steeler blitzed hard with five to six players because they know the Lions line cannot handle that. They knew the Lions needed a longer play and a deep pass would need time to develop. They didn't give it time. Yet, in my opinion the Lions should not have been in that position to begin with. The refs put them there.

Earlier in the game, the Lions blitzed Roethlisburger, forcing him to throw early. The pass resulted in an interception and should have been the Lions ball... if not for yet another bad call against the Lions this year. The flag? Going for the quarterbacks knees.

Replay showed that the Lions did not go for Ben's legs. One player hit him high on the shoulder. Another player was blocked into the ground. That player, already on the ground turned and grabbed Roethlisburger around the legs and pulled him down as he loosed the ball. It was a clean and a very legal play. It should have been the Lions ball. Instead, it was a fifteen yard penalty, first down for Pittsburgh. The Steelers scored a touchdown on the drive.

If that horrid call would not have been made, the Steelers would have had only a one point lead at the end. The Lions would have been running Smith rather than passing and so they would have been able to kick a field goal for the win.

The Lions are still not a very good team, but today they played a pretty good game. Good enough in fact that they should have beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. A feat nobody believed would happen. A feat the refs made sure would not happen.

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