Lions instant analysis: Quin, Prater in top form



Detroit — The Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers tussled in the national spotlight on Sunday night.

But if you were looking for fireworks, you came to the wrong place. Instead, the game was largely a defensive battle that featured no shortage of field goals and red-zone struggles.

Here’s a quick recap of the Lions’ 20-15 loss at Ford Field:

Lions players of the game

It’s a tie between kicker Matt Prater and safety Glover Quin. Prater was automatic — as usual — and was 5-for-5 on field goals with kicks from 19, 34, 37, 48 and 51 yards, tying a single-game career high. Quin, who was playing for the first time since suffering a concussion in the third quarter against the Saints two weeks ago, had a hand in both of Detroit’s takeaways, with a diving interception in the first quarter and a fumble recovery late in the first half when the Steelers were threatening to score. He became the first Lion with an interception and fumble recovery in the same game since safety Ricardo Silva (Oct. 28, 2012 vs. Seattle). 

Turning point

Trailing 13-12 in the third quarter, the Lions had a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line and opted for three cracks at the end zone. The result? Incomplete pass, run for no gain and 1-yard loss on a Matthew Stafford delayed run to force a turnover on downs. Three plays later, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster over the middle for a 97-yard touchdown to push Pittsburgh’s lead to 20-12 late in the third quarter.

Stats of the game

♦The Lions finished 0-for-5 in the red zone. In 16 total plays, they mustered just eight yards (five rushes for four yards, 1-for-10 passing for five yards and one sack for a 1-yard loss). 

♦The Lions entered the game converting roughly 40 percent of their third downs. That number plummeted as Detroit finished 2-for-12 in third-down conversions against the Steelers, which led to many Prater’s field goals when the offense sputtered in the red zone.

♦The Steelers entered the game as the league's top-ranked pass defense, allowing 147 yards per game. Matthew Stafford nearly tripled that number, finishing 27-for-45 for 423 yards. It was the fifth-most yards Stafford has thrown in a single game in his career.

Stock report

Up: TJ Jones, WR. With Golden Tate fighting through a shoulder injury, Jones stepped up and delivered. He hauled in four catches for a career-high 88 yards receiving. His previous high in a single game was 63 yards, a mark he surpassed in the first half alone.

Down: Nevin Lawson, CB. Lawson was targeted and picked on in the passing game by Roethlisberger, especially early. The lowlight was when he blew an assignment on the game’s first play that led to a 41-yard catch by Smith-Schuster.

Up: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB. The rookie was flying all over the field and was impressive in the early stages of the game. Reeves-Maybin showed an ability to quickly close in coverage and finished with four tackles, all coming in the first half.

Burning question

Did tight end Eric Ebron play his last game in a Lions uniform? Ebron’s name has reportedly popped up on the trade market ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. He was loudly booed after he couldn’t come up with a tough, low pass in the first quarter but came up big late in the fourth quarter with a 14-yard grab on a third-and-3 and a 44-yard catch-and-run to set up a first-and-10 at the Steelers’ 11 with three minutes to play.