Friday, January 10, 2014
Plays that shaped the season: No. 6
By Scott Brown
Here is the next installment of plays that shaped the Steelers' season. The series will resume Monday with the final five plays revealed over the course of next week.
The play: The Steelers snuffed out a fake field goal attempt by the Detroit Lions early in the fourth quarter of a Nov. 17 game at Heinz Field.
The situation: The Lions were leading 27-23 and had a chance to go up by a touchdown when coach Jim Schwartz opted for a fake on fourth-and-5 from the Steelers' 10-yard line. The Lions tipped off the fake by pulling left guard Larry Warford, and nose tackle Steve McLendon and defensive end Cameron Heyward followed Warford to the opening off right tackle. They swallowed up holder Sam Martin after a 3-yard gain, causing a fumble that free safety Ryan Clark recovered.
Why it mattered: The game pivoted on that ill-advised call by Schwartz as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led a 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that gave the Steelers the lead for good. The Steelers, still in need of a signature win, had nearly played their way out of the game with a horrendous second quarter. Schwartz gave them something of a reprieve -- that call is one reason why he is no longer coaching the Lions -- and the Steelers took full advantage of it. They scored 14 unanswered points to beat Detroit, 37-27, and the Steelers took momentum from that victory into Cleveland the following Sunday.