(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Alex Highsmith - Highsmith had 11 total tackles, eight of which were solos. While the defense got gashed in the running game, Highsmith had two run stops that went for negative yardage. He also had a quarterback hit and drew a holding call in overtime.
Cameron Heyward - Along with Highsmith, Heyward wasn't the reason for the defense struggling in regards to stopping the run. Heyward had two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits. On the defensive line, minus Heyward, it's just a bunch of guys. They're really missing Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu right now.
Terrell Edmunds - Edmunds was one of the few positives from today's game, as he recorded five total tackles (four solos), a sack, two tackles for a loss, a pass defended and a quarterback hit. Edmunds had a big sack in overtime that resulted in a 13-yard loss.
James Pierre - With most of the defense struggling to tackle, Pierre had no issue in that department. The second-year cornerback had a textbook tackle in the run game and blew up a screen play.
Najee Harris - Harris had another stellar performance, racking up 133 total yards from scrimmage on 30 touches -- 26 carries for 105 yards and four receptions for 28 yards. Harris had a rushing touchdown in the second quarter but it was negated due to a holding call on Dan Moore Jr. The most impressive play by Harris in the game came in the fourth quarter when he got at least five yards after a reception on second effort to set up a 51-yard field goal for Chris Boswell. According to NFL Research, Harris has recorded 75-plus scrimmage yards in eight straight games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. Only three rookies had a longer streak in a season in the last 15 seasons: - Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch in 2007 (13 games), former Steelers' running back Le’Veon Bell in 2013 (2019 games) and Odell Beckham Jr. when he was with the Giants in 2014 (nine games).
Chris Boswell - Boswell continues to be clutch this season. As mentioned, he nailed a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 16-16. It's a shame that the Steelers' offense couldn't set Boswell up for a game-winner. I'm positive that he would have put it through the uprights.
Mason Rudolph - With Ben Roethlisberger placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and unable to play in today's game, Mason Rudolph had a great opportunity to showcase that he could be at least a bridge quarterback for the Steelers in 2022 if this ends up being Roethlisberger's last year. Well, he failed to impress. He's not the answer, clearly. Rudolph completed 30 of 50 passes (60.0%) for 242 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and had a quarterback rating of 70.6. Rudolph had a ton of off-target throws in the game, as a lot of his passes sailed. On third-and-goal in the third quarter, Rudolph had an open McCloud in the end zone and just short-armed it.
Matt Canada - Rudolph shouldn't have thrown the ball 50 times. That's just inexcusable by Canada. This was against the 29th-ranked Lions' run defense also. Canada's biggest blunder in the game came in the third quarter when he called three straight pass plays that resulted in incompletions from the Lions' 5-yard line. The Steelers had to settle for a 23-yard by Chris Boswell to cut the Lions' lead to 16-13. How do you not hand the ball off to Harris at all in that situation? Especially with your backup quarterback starting. The whole offensive game plan by Canada was just absurd. McCloud was second on the team in targets with 12. McCloud shouldn't have that big of a role in the offense. After the opening drive touchdown that was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown reception by James Washington from Rudolph, Washington was targeted just three times the rest of the game.
Run defense/tackling - The Lions dominated in the run game against the Steelers, as they rushed for a whopping 229 yards on 39 carries (5.9 average) and two touchdowns. With 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Lions already compiled 199 yards on 21 carries (9.5 average) and two touchdowns. The Lions' offensive line was just having their way and winning the battle in the trenches. Minus the defensive line getting bushed off the ball, the tackling was atrocious for the defense, and the Lions' running backs were able to get a bunch of yards after initial contact.
Devin Bush - Earlier this season, I gave Bush the benefit of the doubt since he's coming off an ACL tear. However, after another poor performance today, I'm really starting to wonder if he's just a flat-out bust. Bush just doesn't shed off blockers well, and he's been a horrendous tackler. Bush displayed all of that against the Lions. Just watch Bush's attempt at a tackle on Godwin Igwebuike's 42-yard touchdown run. Brutal.
Bush also hasn't been great in coverage and was called for a crucial holding penalty in the game, which negated a Minkah Fitzpatrick interception.
Diontae Johnson - In overtime, Johnson had a big 39-yard reception down the right sidelines, but he coughed up the ball after being stripped by Mark Gilbert and cornerback Amani Oruwariye recovered the loose ball at the Steelers' 45-yard line. It was a crucial mistake by Johnson and it was one of many plays that prevented the Steelers from winning. The Steelers would have been in a great position to set Boswell up for a game-winning field goal had Johnson not fumbled.
Kendrick Green - For some reason, Green had a ton of high snaps today. The worst snap came in overtime when he snapped the ball over Rudolph's head, which was recovered by the Steelers, but it resulted in a 19-yard loss and forced a third-and-25. That just can't happen. I know the weather conditions weren't great with the rain, but Green has to be better.
Pat Freiermuth - On the Steelers' final possession of overtime, Freiermuth fumbled as well, and that's how the game ended up being a tie. It was a fitting end to a sloppy game. With 15 seconds remaining in overtime and the ball placed at the Lions' 39-yard line, Lions' strong safety Will Harris forced Freiermuth to fumble after a 1-yard catch, and outside linebacker Trey Flowers recovered the loose ball near the sidelines. Freiermuth was tackled in bounds, so the Steelers would have had to rush to the line of scrimmage to clock the ball since they had no timeouts left. However, if Freiermuth didn't give the ball up, Boswell would have at least been set up for a game-winning 56-yard field goal.