Live Lions blog: Lions come back, win 30-17

Al Willman
The Detroit News
Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin heads upfield after shaking off Steelers' Sean Davis after a reception for a 30-yard gain in the first quarter.

After trailing 14-13 at halftime, the Lions came back, outscoring the Steelers 17-3 in the second half to win 30-17.

The backup quarterback competition looks to be fierce, between incumbent backup Dan Orlovsky (16-of-25, 164 yards, one touchdown, one interception) and former Michigan signal-caller Jake Rudock (8-of-11, 72 yards, one touchdown, one two-point conversion; four carries, 20 yards).

Dwayne Washington put the Lions ahead for the final time with a 98-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

15 Lions combined to catch 28 passes for 294 yards.

The Lions led in every aspect of the stat sheet. They had 20 first downs to 10 for the Steelers, and held an advantage in total yards (379-187), time of possession (34:02-25:58), and turnover ratio (plus-1).

Landry Jones started under center for the Steelers, going 6-of-12 for 55 yards and a touchdown to Darrius Heyward-Bey.

The Lions continue their preseason Thursday at 7 p.m. with a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field.

Lions go three-and-out

The Lions could not add to their two-score lead late in the fourth quarter, going three-and-out. With two minutes left, the Lions lead 30-17.

Lions defense keeps rolling

The Lions forced the Steelers' six-play drive that netted four yards to stall, on a sack from Anthony Zettel on Dustin Vaughan. Jace Billingsley returned the ensuing punt 23 yards to the Lions 48-yard line, where they start their drive with 3:40 left.

Rudock leads Lions to end zone

The Lions added to their lead on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Jake Rudock to Jace Billingsley, though the extra point was no good. The touchdown capped a 11-play, 74 yard drive in which the Lions got three first downs -- all of which they converted from third down. Rudock is showing that he might leapfrog Dan Orlovsky for the backup quarterback spot, behind starter Matthew Stafford.

Another player to watch is running back Dwayne Washington. The rookie has a kick return for touchdown already, and rushed twice for 12 yards on the most recent scoring drive.

With 6:12 left, the Lions lead 30-17.

Lions defense holds fast

The Lions defense held the Steelers down on their first drive after the special teams touchdown, forcing a three-and-out. The Lions take the ball at their own 26-yard line and lead 24-17 with 11:54 left in the fourth quarter.

Washington goes 96 yards for TD

The Lions didn't need long to retake the lead. Dwayne Washington took the kickoff following Pittsburgh's field goal 96 yards for a touchdown. The Lions converted the two-point attempt on a pass from Jake Rudock to Quinshod Davis. With 13:26 left in the fourth quarter, the Lions are up 24-17.

Steelers retake lead on FG

Daryl Richardson got the Steelers offense started on the drive following the Lions field goal. He accounted for each of Pittsburgh’s first three plays (9-yard catch, 13-yard run, 4-yard run). Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski then connected with Sammie Coates for a gain of six yards, giving the Steelers their second first down of the drive. Two plays later, Gradkowski took it upon himself to convert the first third down of the night for the Steelers — on a 9-yard run. Gradkowski was then replaced by Dustin Vaughan under center. Vaughan was sacked by Khaseem Greene for a loss of five yards. After three quarters, the Lions lead 16-14.

The drive stalled for the Steelers, who settled for a 36-yard field goal from Chris Boswell, giving them back the lead. With 13:38 left in the fourth quarter, the Steelers lead 17-16.

Lions force yet another three-and-out

After forcing the Steelers to go three-and-out, the Lions offense could not get a first down. On 4th-and-1, Devon Bell -- whose punt a drive earlier forced the Steelers to start inside their own 5 -- made a 42-yard field goal, giving the Lions their first lead of the night. With 6:54 left in the third quarter, the Lions lead 16-14.

Lions force yet another three-and-out

With great defensive field position, the Lions defense went to work on its first drive of the second half. The Lions forced the Steelers to go three-and-out. Jace Billingsley took the punt return 13 yards to the Pittsburgh 33, giving the Lions and Jake Rudock good field position to start, down 14-13 with 8:54 left in the third quarter.

Former UM QB Rudock in for Lions

Former Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock took his spot under center for the Lions to start the second half. He connected with receiver Quinshad Davis, on his first pass, for nine yards, before picking up 17 on the keeper that followed. Rudock was 3-for-4 for 19 yards on his first drive of the preseason. Devon Bell followed with a stellar punt on fourth down — going out of bounds at the Steelers 3-yard line. With 11:28 left in the third quarter, the Lions are down 14-13.

Halftime: Steelers 14, Lions 13

The Lions, while leading on much of the stat sheet, trail 14-13 at the half.

Matthew Stafford started, going only one series. He was 4-for-6 for 59 yards. Dan Orlovsky replaced him, going 16-for-25 for 164 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Running back Zach Zenner looked good, too, rushing for 24 yards on seven carries. He also had three catches for 32 yards.

The Lions lead in total yards (260-81), time of possession (20:45-9:15), first downs (15-4) and turnover margin (plus-1), but are down one point at the break. The Lions have six points off of turnovers, while the Steelers have seven (a pick-six by Dan Orlovsky in the first quarter).

Lions settle for another field goal

The Lions had to settle for another field goal late in the first half. After an offsides flag made it 3rd-and-5, Dan Orlovsky found Jeremy Kerley for a gain of six — making the Lions 8-for-11 on third down. The Lions went through another set of downs, but were unable to convert another third down. On fourth down, Matt Prater made a 31-yard field goal — his second of the game. With 18 seconds left in the half, the Lions are down 14-13.

Lions force fumble, recover

The Lions forced a turnover on their first defensive possession after the touchdown. On 3rd-and-10, Landry Jones found receiver Sammie Coates, who fumbled — the Lions recovered. With 1:12 left in the half, the Lions take the ball, down 14-10.

Lions respond with touchdown

The Lions chipped away at the Steelers lead late in the first half. Running back Orson Charles was flagged for a 10-yard holding penalty, but then caught a 10-yard pass from Dan Orlovsky, getting back to the original line of scrimmage, and starting the positive yardage for the Lions. Orlovsky then connected with Zach Zenner for a gain of 20 yards, but the Lions drive appeared abruptly on the next play — when receiver T.J. Jones looked like he fumbled the ball, but the play was ruled a backwards pass out of bounds, giving the Lions a second chance. Orlovsky converted the first down — on an 12-yard pass to Jeremy Kerley. Orlovsky connected with Andre Roberts on the next play, for a gain of 20, right before the two minute warning. On the first play after, the two connected again for a 28-yard touchdown. The extra point was good, and with 1:52 left in the half, the Lions trail 14-10.

Lions defense falters, Steelers score

The Lions defense faltered a bit late in the first half. On 2nd-and-12, The Steelers benefitted from a defensive pass interference call against Lions cornerback Cresdon Butler on a ball that sailed over the head of receiver Darius Heyward-Bey — putting them past midfield for the first time. Landry Jones found Heyward-Bey for the 29-yard touchdown. The extra point was good, and with 4:29 left until halftime, the Steelers have a 14-3 lead.

Lions settle for field goal

The Lions looked to bounce back after the rough drive that resulted in a pick-six, though it took a few plays. After throwing a bad pass on 3rd-and-10, Orlovsky bounced back. After taking a bad snap, he found T.J. Jones for a gain of 13. Zach Zenner, two plays after a 7-yard rush, caught a 7-yard pass from Orlovsky — getting 15 more on a horse collar tackle. George Wynn then had a couple of positive-yard plays, with catches of six and 13 yards in consecutive plays — the latter giving the Lions their ninth first down of the night. The 13-play, 74-yard drive stalled after Orlovsky was nearly intercepted again, but Matt Prater was good from 29 yards, putting the Lions on the board. With 8:00 left in the half, the Lions trail 7-3.

Orlovsky throws pick-six

Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky made his first mistake in the second quarter. On 2nd-and-7, at his own 31-yard line, Orlovsky appeared to slip past a sack, but threw off his back foot and was intercepted by Steelers cornerback Doran Grant, who ran 36 yards for the touchdown. The extra point was good, and with 14:04 left in the half, the Steelers lead 7-0.

Lions force another three-and-out

The Lions forced another three-and-out late in the first quarter. The defense held the Steelers to six yards, and as the quarter expired, the Steelers were set to punt with the line of scrimmage at their own 15. Punting from the goal-line, Steelers punter Jordan Berry booted it out of bounds at the Lions 28-yard line. With 14:53 left in the first half, the game remains scoreless.

Stafford out, Orlovsky in

Dan Orlovsky replaced Matthew Stafford (4-for-6, 59 yards) under center on the Lions' second drive. Zach Zenner ran for 12 yards, before catching a 5-yard pass on the second play of the drive. The Lions got as far as their own 44-yard line, before Jeremy Kerley dropped a long pass on 3rd-and-8, forcing the Lions to punt. The Steelers take over at their own 9, and with 1:07 left in the first quarter, the game is scoreless. The drive went 34 yards in seven plays.

Steelers go three-and-out

The Lions defense forced a three-and-out on the second drive of the night for the Steelers. Devin Taylor sacked Steelers quarterback Landry Jones for a loss of nine yards, and the Steelers couldn't get going after that. With 4:59 to go in the opening quarter, the game remains scoreless.

Lions march, drive ends with fumble

The Lions marched down the field, after starting their first possession on their own 10-yard line. Quarterback Matthew Stafford converted his first three third downs. He connected with new Lion Marvin Jones for a gain of 16 on 3rd-and-6, before converting another third -- on a 30-yard pass to another new Lion, Anquan Boldin. The Lions got down to the Steelers 25, before nearly converting another third down. Stafford ran the keeper to the Pittsburgh 17, but a hold on rookie left guard Taylor Decker wiped out the first down, and made it 3rd-and-12. Stafford was then sacked by James Harrison, which forced a fumble that the Steelers recovered. With 6:39 to go in the first quarter, it's scoreless.

Steelers offense stalls

The Detroit Lions defense forced the Pittsburgh Steelers to stall on their first drive. After two plays for positive yardage, a hold on the Steelers resulted in a 3rd-and-13. An incomplete pass from Steelers starter Landry Jones to Darrius Heyward-Bey forced a fourth-and-long. With 13:00 left in the first quarter, the game is scoreless.

How to watch: Lions at Steelers

After an offseason in which the Detroit Lions saw star receiver Calvin Johnson retire, they open their four-game preseason at 7 p.m., against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

New Detroit News Lions beat writer Justin Rogers highlights five players to watch in tonight's preseason opener.

You won't see much of the veterans, though. Lions coach Jim Caldwell says they'll be spending much of the game on the sidelines. The same appears to be the case for the Steelers, too.

Former Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock has been making a case during training camp to stay with the Lions when camp breaks next month.

How to watch: Lions at Steelers

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

Local TV: WJBK-TV

National TV: NFL Network (tape delay)

Local Radio: 760 AM