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Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers quick thoughts: What just happened?

A collection of thoughts on the Detroit Lions’ final preseason game.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This was far from pretty and lasted a lot longer than it probably should have, but the preseason is over after the Detroit Lions’ 19-9 loss to the the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’ll soon be turning our attention to final cuts that are coming up on Tuesday. Before that, let’s recap this game.

As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.

Blough vs Boyle

Nobody wins here. Both Lions quarterbacks struggled all game long. What’s more concerning is that both Lions quarterbacks struggled with the first team out there with them. Tim Boyle may have played his way out of Detroit with a rough first half that saw him 3-for-8 for 25 yards and a really bad interception. Blough didn’t too much better. He went 4-for-9 for 50 yards.

Things did not get better for Boyle when the Lions put him back in for the third quarter.

That said, Blough did lead the Lions on some promising drives in the final quarter, including the team’s only touchdown of the day.

At this point I don’t know who wins the backup job, and I’m not sure it should be either of these guys. Brad Holmes and company have some decisions to make.

Hutchinson looks good again

Except for the one offsides call he got, Aidan Hutchinson had a nice game again. He teamed up with Charles Harris to get his first sack of his NFL career and then drew another holding call again. When he wasn’t getting to the quarterback, he was pressuring the quarterback. You could really see him putting his moves to work out there on multiple occasions. It’s going to be fun to see Hutchinson play full football games soon.

Offensive line woes

The Lions offensive line has been a strength for this team for a bit now. It’s often looked at as the team’s biggest strength. On Sunday, they struggled against the Steelers defensive line. You can’t be too upset with this one. The Steelers’ line is one of the best and features the Defensive Player of the Year on it. T.J. Watt balled out before he left with a knee injury. The Lions struggled to give their quarterbacks time, and they had too many occasions where they looked rough in the run block department. The Lions line has to be better going forward.

Justin Jackson looked good

Jackson put some nice tape out there in both the return game and on the ground. Unfortunately, some of his best plays were called back due to an injury. Beyond that, it looked like Dan Campbell and the Lions coaching staff really wanted to get a look at Jackson. Jackson finished with 83 total yards between receiving and running the ball. If the Lions carry four running backs, Jackson has made a pretty good argument that he should get that job over Godwin Igwebuike.

St. Brown feet

I know I tweeted about it a few times and I’m sure some have already noticed it, but Amon-Ra St. Brown’s footwork is just so dang good. One of the things I often hear from veteran players is that once you play for a while, the game starts to slow down. It seems like it’s already slowed down for St. Brown. The patience he shows when he catches the ball and then maneuvers around to get extra yards is just great. I look forward to seeing more in the regular season.


That’s the kind of stuff you’ve been waiting to see from Jeff Okudah since the Lions took him third overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Okudah has looked pretty good as of late and it looks like he’s ready to be in the starting lineup to start the year.

First-team defense looked good

The Lions offense was so bad and continually put the Lions first team defense in rough situations. The defense handled it each time and kept touchdowns off the board on multiple drives that the Steelers should have been able to score on. The bad part is there was a steep drop off once the second-team defense came on, and the Lions allowed the Steelers to drive down field with ease on the final drive of the first half. Still, the Lions defense did enough to have fans encouraged about the immediate future of this group.

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