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NFL Detroit Lions

5 Reasons the Detroit Lions Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers

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5 Reasons the Lions Lost to the Steelers in Week 11

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions should’ve beaten the Steelers Sunday in a battle that seems to always come down to a weird play or play call. The Lions had a great chance to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC North division. After the Bears picked up an overtime win against the Ravens, the Lions now find themselves tied for first in a division they should be dominating. Injuries to the Bears’ Jay Cutler and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers created an open window that even the Lions’ back-bruised offensive line could protect.

There are five key reasons the Lions lost to the Steelers in Week 11. The scariest part of this list is how easily the factors could repeat, no matter who the opponent. If you watched the game you know that the fake field goal call was huge in the dumbest of ways, but it was just a microcosm of the Lions and their ability to shoot themselves in the foot. What we have learned about the Lions this year, and all years under coach Jim Schwartz, is that lessons tend to go unlearned. What’s worse, the same mistakes seem to get worse and worse until they are no longer mistakes, they are just what the Lions do. I like to call each mistake a “Schwartz”, as in, “wow, that second delay of game penalty coming out of a timeout was a big time Schwartz."

Please be careful when viewing the following list of five reasons the Lions lost to the Steelers. I do not wish to cause any property damage to nearby electronics or windows, and please be mindful of any loved ones within your air-punching range.

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5. No Second Receiver for Calvin Johnson

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions have no help for Calvin Johnson. All the Steelers did was make the appropriate adjustments in the second half to shut down Johnson, giving the other receivers ample chances to make plays and they failed. Also worth noting, bringing back Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles will not fix this problem. This needs to be fixed in a trade, the draft and free agency.

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4. Matthew Stafford's Decision Making

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

No matter who made the decision on the play calls, Stafford should not be going deep on third-and-ten twice in a fourth quarter even if he is throwing to Johnson. Stafford, despite his greatness, still makes bad decisions in key moments that cost the team games. He needs better coaching and a better offensive line as well.

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3. Not Enough Reggie Bush

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions still somehow find a way to under-utilize Reggie Bush, their second most dynamic offensive player on the team. He had 12 carries and two receptions. Bush is so explosive when set up properly on a screen in the open field and should be a check down option available on every play.

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2. Secondary Mistakes

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions' secondary is not talented enough to survive the mental mistakes they make. Rashean Mathis dropped an interception in the fourth quarter and was seen laughing after the play. With six minutes remaining in the fourth, DeAndre Levy and Chris Houston both attempted lunging shoulder hits instead of trying to wrap up Jonathan Dwyer, resulting in another key first down. With five minutes left in the fourth, Rashean Mathis committed pass interference in the end zone in such an obvious way that the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger tossed the pass up clearly just to get the call and a free first down. The resulting touchdown was caught by the fullback Will Johnson, who was a good seven yards from any defender in the end zone.

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1. The Schwartz

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Schwartz is not a scapegoat for a mediocre team, he’s just the “Schwartz” in the flesh. The fake field goal call in the fourth quarter was mind-boggling but too obviously stupid to spend much time analyzing. Jim Schwartz’s job is only safe if he gets to the NFC Championship, and I don’t think that’s an over-statement.