Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

GAME 10 MATCHUP: STEELERS VS. LIONS [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

GAME 10 MATCHUP: STEELERS VS. LIONS [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

GAME PLAN

When the Lions have the ball: The Lions have used their poor seasons to stock their roster with high No. 1 draft picks, and two of the most significant are WR Calvin Johnson and QB Matthew Stafford. They added another in the offseason when they signed RB Reggie Bush, the second overall pick in 2006. Bush leads the team with 633 yards rushing and is second with 34 catches and 343 yards. In the past three games, he has accounted for 329 total yards. Stafford is fourth in the league in yards passing (2,836) and touchdowns (19). He has been sacked only 10 times, fewest in the league, despite attempting 229 passes, seventh most in the league. Why? He makes good, quick decisions and releases the ball quickly. He has been intercepted seven times. The Steelers have only 16 sacks, fifth fewest in the league, and could be without OLB LaMarr Woodley (calf), who leads the team with five sacks. In addition to Johnson, who leads the NFL with 904 receiving yards, Stafford has two other targets who are 6-5 -- TE Brandon Pettigrew (31 catches) and WR Kris Durham (26 catches, 2 TDs).

When the Steelers have the ball: The Steelers faced young, aggressive fronts with the Jets and Bills but not as young and talented as the Lions' tackle tandem of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley and rookie DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah. Along with DE Willie Young, the four-man front has 12 of the Lions' 15 sacks. Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 35 times, second most in the NFL. The line plays the run on the way to the quarterback but still manages to rank eighth in the league in rush defense. Detroit has not allowed a team to rush for more than 62 yards in the past three games and is yielding an average of 2.45 yards per rush in that stretch. The Steelers haven't had a 100-yard rusher in 17 consecutive games. Suh leads the team with 4.5 sacks. Ansah has been playing football for only three years. OLB DeAndre Levy leads the team with five INTs, including a 66-yard TD return. The Lions are seventh in the NFC with 11 interceptions.

KEEP ANE EYE ON

K David Akers ... The six-time Pro Bowl kicker is in his first season with the Lions after spending the previous two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. …

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