PITTSBURGH – The first half of the 2010 football season ended at 10:07p.m. with the Steelers leading the Lions 13-7 compliments of mother nature, and the second half began a few minutes later.
In the end the team behind the arm and scrambling of Dennis Dixon, (6 of 7 for 128 yards and 158.3 passer rating, 31 yards rushing) took home a 23-7 win.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Steeler coach Mike Tomlin said. “He moved the offense relatively well. I liked his composure and it was a good start for him.”
Jeff Reed put the Steelers on the board first with 6:44 left on the clock when he hit a 35 yard field goal. The irony of it was the Steelers gained no yards on three plays.
The Lions took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter after Matthew Stafford engineered an 11 play, 68 yard drive. Stafford hit Calvin Johnson from two yards out.
It was the last time they would find the endzone as the Dennis Dixon show began and the defense stood strong.
Dixon showed his arm strength when he hit Arnaz Battle for a 51 yard play. On the next play, he used his legs, nearly scoring.
Isaac ‘Redzone’ Redman put the ball in moments later and the Steelers had its first offensive touchdown of the pre-season.
But the play of the game came on his last touchdown. With 7:08 left in the contest, he found rookie Antonio Brown across the middle. Brown made a nice catch and raced 68 yards for the score.
The starters were excited to get back on the field despite the nearly hour and a half rain delay and seeing action in just a few series.
“It felt good,’ said Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward. “Just being out there and seeing the crowd, 2010 is here.”
Linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior echoed Ward’s thoughts.
“It was great, it was awesome,” Farrior said. “This is the best city to play in. Steeler fans are great and they keep us going.”
Safety Ryan Clark had a different opinion on the game. For him it was getting a break from he grind of camp, putting on pads and finally hitting someone other than a teammate.
“It’s good to get out there and play against somebody else to see what you have learned in camp and apply it to a real game situation,” Clark said. “We didn’t’ get to play a lo, but we got to run some different coverages, some things that we have been working on. It went well.”
Aaron Smith, who missed most of the 2009 season, felt the same way as Clark.
“It was good to get out here and knock some dust off,” Smith said. “It was nice hitting somebody.”
The Steelers are off tomorrow and play the Giants in New York next Saturday. (12:01 AM EST PGH PA.)..