Recap: Lions tie Steelers 16-16 in sloppy, rainy game

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

The boys are back, and they're going to be trouble.

Or have trouble. You never really know with the 2021 Detroit Lions.

After a crushing home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions travel to Pittsburgh off the bye week for a showdown with the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Nolan Bianchi as the Lions play the Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field.

Quarterback Jared Goff and the Lions offense, in their all white uniforms, make their way onto the field for a game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.


Lions get crucial turnover, tie with Steelers late

The Steelers take over at their own 38. Next score wins.

After a 4-yard run, the snap goes over Mason Rudolph's head and is recovered by Najee Harris for a loss of 19.

Rudolph's third-down pass is almost intercepted, but falls to the turf.

Kalif Raymond returns the punt to Detroit's 45.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (2:25 OT)

The Lions take over at their own 45 with the chance to win the game with a field goal.

Jared Goff is immediately sacked for a loss of 12. It's second-and-23.

Two-minute warning.

Swift drops the second-down throw. This is some ugly football. Goff's third-down throw is nearly picked off, but falls incomplete.

Jack Fox's punt is returned to the 21, which will be brought back by a holding penalty. It's first-and-10 at the 11.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (1:37 OT)

Pat Freiermuth hauls in the first-down throw for a gain of 10.

Timeout #1 Detroit (1:30 OT)

Freiermuth drops the next throw. Ray-Ray McCloud brings in the next throw to bring up third-and-4.

Timeout #2 Detroit (1:20 OT)

Freiermuth moves the chains with a pickup of 8 to the 35. 

It's third-and-1 after a catch by Eric Ebron, and Najee Harris moves the sticks again with a run to the Detroit 49.

Diontae Johnson picks up another first down with a 10-yard reception to the 39 before getting out of bounds. 15 seconds remain.

Freiermuth catches the dump-off on third down, and he fumbles it! The Lions recover at the 38 with 8 seconds left. There's not much of a chance, but there's a chance.

The pass is complete, the Lions try to lateral and keep the play alive, but Detroit is eventually run out of bounds.

The game is over.

FINAL: Lions 16, Steelers 16

Lions miss kick with chance to win game

The Steelers take over at their own 17 with 7:32 remaining in overtime.

Mason Rudolph completes a throw down the sideline that's complete for a gain of more than 30, but Mark Gilbert punches the ball out and the Lions jump on it. They'll get the ball at their own 45, and a field goal can win it. 

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (6:42 OT)

Jared Goff is picked off on his first throw of overtime, but it's called back for defensive holding. That's a 5-yard penalty that brings up first-and-10 at the 50. Wow.

Goff throws a dangerous pass on the next play, but the Lions are again bailed out by a roughing the passer call.

It's now first-and-10 at the 33 of Pittsburgh.

On second-and-12, Swift takes the carry for 8 yards to bring up third-and-4. T.J. Hockenson is called for a flag on third down, and that backs the Lions up another 10 yards. It's third-and-14 at the 38. 

Goff's throw to Kalif Raymond is caught for a gain of 8, bringing up fourth down at the 30. Here comes the game-winning field-goal try.

Ryan Santoso lines up to try a 48-yard field goal.

The kick is up, and the kick is no good.

Heartbreak city.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (4:03 OT)

Lions squander first chance with ball, punt

The Lions will get the ball first to start overtime.

The kick return gives them starting field position at the 26.

Jared Goff's first-down pass is a play-action throw that's on the money to Amon-Ra St. Brown for a gain of 30, setting up first-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 44.

Swift is wrapped up for two straight plays, bringing up third-and-7. Goff is sacked on third down. Woof.

Jack Fox's punt is downed at the 17.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (7:32 OT)

Second half

Lions can't win game before end of regulation

Pittsburgh takes over at Detroit's 48 with 3:32 to go in the game.

A first-down pass goes incomplete, and the second-down run by Najee Harris goes for only 3 to bring up third-and-7: Rudolph's next throw is batted into the air and almost intercepted, but falls incomplete.

The punt goes into the end zone for a touchback.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (2:22 4th)

Detroit starts at its own 20 with two timeouts remaining and 2:22 on the clock.

D'Andre Swift picks up 6 yards on first down, and that takes us to the two-minute warning.

Two-minute warning.

Goff's second-down pass goes to Kalif Raymond, a gain of 9 to the 35, where it'll be first-and-10.

Swift runs it on the next play for a gain of 5, then Trinity Benson gains 4 to bring up third-and-1 at the 44.

Timeout #2 Pittsburgh (0:51 4th)

Swift gets just enough to move the chains before his third-down reception pulls him out of bounds. It's first-and-10 at the Detroit 45. 

After a first-down incompletion, Goff nearly hits Amon-Ra St. Brown near the sideline, but it's broken up. It'll instead be third-and-10.

And the pass is broken up. Lions will punt.

Jack Fox's punt is returned to the 22 of Pittsburgh, where it'll be first-and-10 with 19 seconds left.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (0:19 4th)

The Steelers take a knee, electing to head into overtime.

END 4TH: Lions 16, Steelers 16

Goff can't throw, Lions can't move ball downfield in crunch time

The Steelers take over at their own 29 in a tie game with 7:09 to go.

A 9-yard gain on second-and-7 gives the Steelers a first down at the 41.

Rushes of 1 and 6 bring up third-and-3: Mason Rudolph simply misses a wide-open receiver on third down, and the Steelers will have to punt.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (4:34 4th)

It'll be second-and-14 after a first-down penalty on the Lions. 

Timeout #1 Pittsburgh (4:14 4th)

Timeout #1 Detroit (4:14 4th)

Goff is sacked on third down at the 1 for a loss of 9. He's lucky it wasn't a safety.

Jack Fox's punt is fielded with a fair catch at the Detroit 48. 

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (3:22 4th)

Lions get second life, still punt in 4th

Detroit takes over at its own 25.

A run for no gain and an incompletion bring up third-and-10, where Trinity Benson is wrapped up after a gain of only 5.

Jack Fox is knocked down during his punt, which gives the Lions 5 free yards, which makes it fourth-and-inches. The Lions are going for it from their own 35, and it works: Jason Cabinda picks up 2 to move the chains.

Swift loses 5 yards on the next play, no gain on the one after that.

Injury update: Steelers DE T.J. Watt (ankle) is questionable to return. 

Swift runs it for a few yards on third down, and out comes Fox and the punt crew again.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (7:09 4th)

Steelers tie Lions at 16 to start 4th

The Steelers take over at the 50 to start the fourth quarter after Jack Fox's punt.

Najee Harris runs for 8, then 4, to move the chains.

Injury update: Lions DE Trey Flowers (knee) and OT Matt Nelson (ankle) are questionable to return.

It'll be third-and-4 after two more runs by Harris. James Washington is flagged for pass interference on third down, and the Lions accept to make it third-and-15: Harris gets 10 of that, and Chris Boswell will come out to try and tie the game.

Boswell's 51-yard field goal try is money.

Lions 16, Steelers 16 (11:31 4th)

Sack, penalty forces Lions to punt 

The Lions take over at their own 18, leading by 3 with 1:48 left in the third quarter.

Jared Goff is sacked for a loss of 6 on second-and-9, but it doesn't come without consequence. Defensive end T.J. Watt is down, and he's helped off the field by the training staff.

It's third-and-15 — that is, until the Lions are flagged for a false start. It's third-and-20: A screen pass to D'Andre Swift doesn't gain much, and that'll bring the third quarter to a close.

END 3RD: Lions 16, Steelers 13 

Lions get stop with third-down pass breakup

The Steelers take over at their own 20 after the punt. They trail the Lions, 16-13, in the third quarter.

Mason Rudolph puts a dime on the chest of Ray-Ray McCloud on third down, and that'll go for a gain of 14 to set up first-and-10 at the 35.

After a run for no gain, Najee Harris picks up 6 to make it third-and-4.

Injury alert: Lions DE Trey Flowers was hurt on the play and limps off the field accompanied by the training staff.

Amani Oruwariye breaks up a third-down throw down the sideline that will force the Steelers to punt.

Kalif Raymond's return goes to the 18.

Lions 16, Steelers 13 (1:48 3rd)

Lions punt from Steelers territory 

Detroit takes over at its own 33 after another solid return by Godwin Igwebuike.

D'Andre Swift sets up third-and-6 with a 4-yard run on second down. A great play call winds up getting the ball to Amon-Ra St. Brown on a third-down screen, and he breaks free for a pickup of 19 yards to the Pittsburgh 44, where it'll be first-and-10.

Two short runs by Swift set up third-and-5 at the 39: The Lions try an near-identical screen as they did on the previous third-down situation, but this time it's blown up for no gain. 

Jack Fox's punt is nearly downed inside the 2, but it's eventually ruled a touchback.

Lions 16, Steelers 13 (4:28 3rd)

Lions hold Steelers to field goal with red-zone stop

Pittsburgh takes over at its own 26, trailing 16-10 early in the third quarter.

Mason Rudolph rolls right, makes a couple defenders miss, then rolls left, and takes off up the sideline for a gain of 26 yards to the 48.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin makes a great play to chase out Najee Harris for a loss, but he hits him going out of bounds and that'll be a 15-yard penalty. Instead of third-and-long, it's first-and-10 at the Detroit 32.

Harris moves the chains with a 5-yard reception on third-and-3, bringing up first-and-10 at the 20. 

Amani Oruwariye breaks up a throw to the end zone on second-and-6, and that gives the Lions defense a chance to get off the field on third down. Rudolph runs for the first down and is taken down at the 6-yard-line by Tracy Walker, who is then helped off the field after appearing to suffer an injury.

Derrick Barnes breaks up a first-down throw at the line. Rudolph throws his second-down pass out of bounds, and we've got third-and-goal at the 5. Rudolph's third-down throw hits the ground two feet in front of his target.

Chris Boswell's kick is up, and it's good, as Pittsburgh cuts the Lions lead to 3.

Lions 16, Steelers 13 (8:26 3rd)

Igwebuike's monster run gives Lions 16-10 lead 

Detroit takes over at its own 15 after a penalty on the kick return erases a nice return by Godwin Igwebuike.

D'Andre Swift takes the first-down handoff for a gain of 16 to the 31.

Injury alert: Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick was hurt on the play and is helped off by the training staff. 

Injury update: Steelers CB Joe Haden (foot) has been downgraded to OUT.

Fitzpatrick is back for the Steelers.

A short run and incompletion brings up third-and-9: Swift takes the handoff for a 12-yard gain to the Detroit 44, where it'll be first-and-goal.

Igwebuike then runs for 14, and the Lions are moving the ball pretty well here. 

And by 'pretty well,' I mean the best they have all season, because Igwebuike takes his next carry 42 yards to the house for a Lions touchdown. Holy smokes.

Lions 16, Steelers 10 (12:57 3rd)

First half

Lions tie game heading into halftime

Detroit takes over at its own 31, trailing 10-7 in the second quarter.

D'Andre Swift carries the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a 15-yard gain on the first play of the drive.

It's then third-and-6 after two short runs. Goff's third-down pass is short of the sticks, and the Lions will go for it on fourth-and-1: Swift breaks a few tackles on his way to a 10-yard gain.

Two-minute warning.

Swift gets Detroit to inside the Pittsburgh 7 with a 21-yard run, and after a first-down carry that loses a yard, Detroit calls timeout.

Timeout #1 Detroit (0:24 2nd)

Goff's dangerous throw is nearly intercepted on second down.

Timeout #2 Detroit (0:20 2nd)

Swift is tackled after a gain of 5, and Detroit will settle for a field goal.

Timeout #3 Detroit (0:02 2nd)

The field goal is good, and this game is tied at halftime.

END 2ND: Lions 10, Steelers 10

Steelers add field goal to regain lead in 2nd quarter

Injury updates: Lions RB Jermar Jefferson appears to be have been injured on his touchdown run the previous drive and is seen carted to the locker room. Steelers CB Joe Haden (foot) is questionable to return.

A false start backs up the Steelers to make it first-and-15 from the 20, where Najee Harris runs for no gain and Ray-Ray McCloud hauls in a 7-yard completion. It's third-and-8: Diontae Johnson brings in a 20-yard reception on the next play, making it first-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 47.

Detroit then has 12 men on the field, which will bring up first-and-5.

Injury update: Lions RB Jermar Jefferson is questionable to return with an ankle injury.

McCloud gets open on second down before getting absolutely smoked by Tracy Walker, a gain of 15 that brings up first-and-10 at the Detroit 37.

An offsides penalty makes it first-and-5. Harris rushes for 1 and then 9 to make it first-and-10 at the 22. 

They keep feeding Harris, getting to the 7, where it'll be first-and-goal before a holding penalty makes it first-and-goal from the 17.

Two short gains bring up third-and-goal at the 8. The third-down throw can't get Pittsburgh into the end zone, so they'll bring out the kicking unit. 

Chris Boswell puts home the field goal.

Steelers 10, Lions 7 (4:22 2nd)

Jefferson's huge run ties game for Lions

Detroit takes over at the Pittsburgh 39, early in the second quarter while trailing 7-0.

The Lions move the chains with a pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown and run by Jermar Jefferson.

Jefferson hits a hole up the middle on the very next play, and goes 28 yards for a touchdown run.

Lions 7, Steelers 7 (12:43 2nd)

Defensive stop, Raymond's good return set up Lions

The Steelers take over at their own 20 after the punt.

Najee Harris rushes for 4 yards, bringing the first quarter to a close.

END 1ST: Steelers 7, Lions 0

The Lions do a good job of breaking up the second-down pass and limiting Pittsburgh to a gain of 1 on the third-down incompletion.

Kalif Raymond returns the punt return all the way to Pittsburgh's 39 for a return of 48 yards.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (14:11 2nd)

Lions get interception, can't gain any additional yardage

The Steelers take over at their own 28, leading 7-0.

After two plays, the Steelers have a first down at the 40. Mason Rudolph on the next play hits Ray-Ray McCloud for a 17-yard gain to the Detroit 43, where the Steelers will have first-and-10.

Amani Oruwariye forces a 2-yard loss on first down, and it's third-and-12 after a dropped screen on second down. Rudolph makes a terrible throw on third down that's intercepted by Julian Okwara and returned to the Detroit 48, where the Lions will have it first-and-10.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (1:39 4th)

Goff winds up and throws deep for an open Kalif Raymond, but the pass is underthrown and broken up. The Lions run it on second and third down. Both times, it goes for no gain. 


Jack Fox's punt goes for a touchback.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (0:20 1st)

Lions struggling to get offense going in Pittsburgh

Detroit takes over at its own 15, trailing 7-0 early.

Jermar Jefferson rushes for 9, but Jared Goff moves the Lions backwards with a throw to D'Andre Swift that loses yardage and gets his running back crushed. Swift is stopped just short of the sticks on third down, and Jack Fox's punt is returned to the 27.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (4:27 1st)

Lions force 3-and-out after dismal opening drive

The Steelers take over at the 40, leading 7-0.

A 3-yard loss on second-and-1 brings up third-and-4. Mason Rudolph barely overthrows his man on a comeback route, and the Lions are fortunate to get off the field early.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (6:37 1st)

Lions take penalty, go 3-and-out on opening drive

Detroit takes over at its own 16, trailing Pittsburgh 7-0 with 9:37 to go in the first quarter.

Then the Lions take a false start. It's first-and-15. 

It's quickly third-and-12 after two minimal gains by Detroit. D'Andre Swift slices and dices on third down, but can't get enough to move the chains.

Jack Fox's punt is returned to the 40 of Pittsburgh.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (8:01 1st)

Steelers march down field, take 7-0 lead on opening drive

The Lions have won the toss and defer to the second half.

Pittsburgh starts at the 17 with Mason Rudolph under center. The Steelers pick up a first down with a short run and short pass, bringing up first-and-10 at the 28.

Rudolph fumbles the second-down snap, but recovers and hits his receiver for a gain of 11 to give Pittsburgh a first down at the 42.

Eric Ebron catches a pass over the middle on second-and-7 that gains 4, bringing up third-and-3 near midfield: Rudolph goes over the top, and Amani Oruwariye is flagged for a pass interference call that gives the Steelers 29 free yards.

It's first-and-10 at the 22, where Najee Harris runs over multiple Lions for an 11-yard gain.

A short run and an incomplete pass brings up third-and-8: James Washington gets wide-open in the corner of the end zone for an 11-yard passing touchdown.

Steelers 7, Lions 0 (9:40 1st)


Detroit's anemic offense should be getting some much-needed help, with left tackle Taylor Decker presumably returning to the offensive line.

The Steelers, meanwhile, have won four straight with Monday night's win over the Bears in primetime. They'll be without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who tested positive for COVID. Mason Rudolph is expected to fill in.

Is this finally the day that the Lions shock the football world?

Lions at Steelers

► Kickoff: 1 p.m., Sunday, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

► TV/radio: Fox/97.1

► Records: Lions 0-8, Steelers 5-3

► Line: Steelers by 8