Comcast Red Zone Recap: Week 5

This post is sponsored by Comcast's NFL RedZone Channel

Lions - 1 score on 1 chance (1 field goal)

The fact that the Lions had only one visit to the red zone this past Sunday says quite a bit about how the game went.  Sometimes this stat could be a bit misleading if a team simply had tons of big plays that ended up scoring touchdowns, meaning they didn't need to get inside the 20, but that was not the case for the Lions at all.

The one time the Lions did get in the red zone, they didn't even end up finishing the drive in it.  The Lions got down to the 7, which is when Daunte Culpepper made a terrible play that resulted in intentional grounding.  That was a 16-yard penalty, moving the Lions out of the red zone and eventually leading to a Jason Hanson field goal.  The drive still counts as having a trip to the red zone in spite of where it ended.

Many other times during this game the Lions knocked on the door to the red zone, but something went wrong on all but one drive.  Whether it was an interception, a turnover on downs after three straight sacks, a field goal, or a missed field goal, the Lions just could not move the ball after they got close to the 20-yard line.  The one time they did keep playing well for an entire drive was when Dennis Northcutt caught a touchdown pass near the end of the game, but that was from beyond 20 yards out, meaning the Lions surpassed the red zone that time around.  That obviously wasn't a big deal, but the other drives show a complete offensive failure after a promising start to the possession.

Steelers - 3 scores on 3 chances (3 touchdowns)

The Steelers really didn't spend a ton of time in the red zone, as they usually scored pretty quickly after getting inside the 20.  For example, the first trip to the red zone lasted only one play.  After a 21-yard pass to Hines Ward put the Steelers on the 7-yard line, Rashard Mendenhall bounced to the outside and score untouched.  The next time Pittsburgh was in the red zone came in the second quarter and technically lasted for three plays.  Mendenhall ran for 9 yards down to the 5-yard line and scored a touchdown on the next play.  A holding penalty nullified the score, but Ben Roethlisberger found Heath Miller on the very next play for a touchdown.  The final trip to the red zone for Pittsburgh was later in the second quarter when Roethlisberger threw another touchdown pass, this time to Hines Ward from 17 yards out.  Again it only took a single play for the Steelers to score after they got in the red zone.

Overall

The Lions were really terrible on both offense and defense when it came to the red zone in this game.  The one time the offense actually got into the red zone was a disaster, and the fact that they only managed to get inside the 20 once was a disaster as well.  Defensively, the Lions could not stop Pittsburgh at all in the red zone.  The Steelers ran a total of 5 plays in the red zone during this game, and 4 of them ended up with a Pittsburgh player crossing the goal line.  Of course, 1 of those touchdowns was called back because of a holding penalty, but every play except that one and the 9-yard run by Mendenhall resulted in a touchdown.

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