Detroit Lions make a game of it late but still fall in 2nd preseason game 26-20 at Pittsburgh

Detroit Lions wide receiver Javon McKinley, center, celebrates with teammates after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Steelers during the second half of a preseason game Saturday in Pittsburgh. (AP photo)


Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed a perfect preseason debut.

Roethlisberger turned in a perfect passer rating of 158.3 and led the Steelers’ first-team offense to a pair of touchdowns and Pittsburgh defeated the Detroit Lions 26-20 on Saturday night.

“I’m just trying to win a football game,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s the preseason and I wanted to stay healthy. It was good to be out there and playing.”

Mason Rudolph followed and led Pittsburgh to three field goal drives, going 13 of 18 for 138 yards. Dwayne Haskins led the offense to another field goal, as the Steelers scored on six of their first seven possessions.

The Lions sat several regulars, including quarterback Jared Goff, who was acquired as part of the Matthew Stafford trade. Tim Boyle got the start under center on Saturday and the Lions weren’t able to cross midfield until late in the third quarter.

Detroit also sat linemen Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, running backs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, receiver Tyrell Williams and tight end T.J. Hockenson on offense.

Godwin Igwebuike, Javon McKinley and Craig Reynolds scored all three Detroit touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously, we didn’t have a few guys go, but we can’t lean on that as a crutch,” Boyle said. “We should’ve done a better job in the first half of executing, there’s no way of getting around that. I’m not extremely pleased with how we played in that first group.”

Boyle, the Lions’ projected backup quarterback, played into the third quarter and finished 7 of 15 for 44 yards. Boyle started 2 of 7 for 14 yards with an intentional grounding, as the Lions punted on their first five possessions.

David Blough entered midway through the third quarter and finished 12 of 17 for 143 yards and a touchdown. He led the Lions to three fourth-quarter TD drives and tossed a score to McKinley in the corner of the end zone late in the game.