Flashback Friday: Killer B’s Lead Steelers To 2013 Shootout Win Over Lions In Bumblebee Jerseys

In the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, some jerseys are held in different regards.

One such jersey that really is in the eye of the beholder is the 1934 Pittsburgh Steelers throwback jersey, better known as the bumblebee jersey.

The Steelers first debuted the controversial throwbacks in the 2013 season, which happened to be the 80th season in franchise history. Pittsburgh wore the jerseys against Washington and the Baltimore Ravens at then-Heinz Field that season, going 1-1 in those games, beating Washington (27-12) and losing to Baltimore (13-10).

One year later, the Steelers rolled the jerseys out against the Detroit Lions, and it led to one of the more memorable games at Heinz Field featuring a quarterback duel between two future Hall of Famers in Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford, and two dominant showings from star receivers Antonio Brown and Calvin Johnson on Nov. 17, 2013.

Things started off rather quickly in the Week 11 matchup for the Steelers, who entered the game at 3-6 after starting the year 0-4.

Against the Lions, Pittsburgh forced a turnover on downs at the Steelers’ 31-yard line thanks to cornerback Ike Taylor breaking up a Stafford pass intended for Johnson on fourth and 3. Taylor’s play sparked the Steelers as the offense, led by the Killer B’s in Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and Brown, went to work.

The first play of scrimmage offensively for the Steelers resulted in a 13-yard run by Bell, knifing through the Lions’ defense.

It sure is special to look back on his career and watch how great he was, especially in his rookie season. The patience and vision behind the line of scrimmage were rather impressive, but it was the burst out of those cuts that really took him to another level.

Following the big run from Bell, Roethlisberger went to work with some quick strikes to tight end Heath Miller and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, before cashing in with Brown.

After hooking up with Brown for an 11-yard completion to move the chains, Roethlisberger went right back to Brown on a quick stop. The star receiver did the rest, breaking two tackles and racing home 34 yards for the opening touchdown in front of a raucous home crowd.

Brown was so, so good at the height of his powers. He was always open and was a dynamic threat after the catch. The wiggle in tight here against two Lions defensive backs is still breathtaking all these years later.

Up 7-0, the Steelers’ defense forced a quick three-and-out, getting the ball back for the high-powered offense.

Three plays later, the Steelers were in the end zone once again.

Following a 13-yard completion to Brown, Roethlisberger worked his magic at the line of scrimmage. Setting up the protection and adjusting routes before the snap, he then stepped up in the pocket after the snap to find Brown on the run for a 47-yard touchdown.

Vintage Steelers from the Killer B’s era.

Trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, the Lions found their footing on the road, mounting a scoring drive.

Running back Joique Bell ripped off an 18-yard run and Stafford found Johnson for 16 yards. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew couldn’t come down with a throw over the middle in the end zone on third and eight from the Steelers’ 17, forcing Detroit to settle for a 35-yard field goal from veteran kicker David Akers.

Detroit then got a stop on defense, giving the ball back to Stafford offensively, but one play later running back Reggie Bush fumbled after safety Will Allen punched it out. That resulted in a 29-yard fumble return by linebacker Lawrence Timmons, setting the Steelers’ offense up deep in Detroit territory.

Six plays later, kicker Shaun Suisham kicked a 25-yard field goal, giving the Steelers a 17-3 lead with 10:34 left in the second quarter.

On the very next play for Detroit though after the kickoff, Stafford rolled right and found Johnson streaking across the field for a 79-yard touchdown. Johnson broke a tackle from Taylor and jogged home for the score, making it a 17-10 game in the blink of an eye.

Back in the game, the Lions needed a stop defensively.

They wouldn’t get it though as Roethlisberger carved up the defense.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback found rookie receiver Markus Wheaton for 21 yards to open the drive. He then hit Bell in stride on a perfectly run Texas (option) route out of the backfield for 43 yards, putting the Steelers in great position.

Look at the move Bell puts on linebacker DeAndre Levy out of the backfield!

My word.

Four plays later, Pittsburgh made it 20-10 as Suisham was good from 34 yards midway through the second quarter.

That’s when Detroit took over for a significant stretch to close the first half.

Stafford came out firing on the next drive, hitting Pettigrew for 31 yards before then finding Kris Durham for 25 yards. That set up a 19-yard strike to Johnson in the end zone to make it a 20-17 game.

Pittsburgh went three-and-out, and then the Lions ripped off a pair of explosive plays again.

Stafford found Johnson for 23 yards and then Bell ripped off a 37-yard run, setting up a 2-yard rushing touchdown to make it a 24-20 game. Pittsburgh then failed to do anything with the ball on the next drive thanks to a pair of holding penalties from left tackle Guy Whimper, giving the Lions one more possession.

Stafford drove them right down the field late in the first half, eventually settling on a 19-yard field goal from Akers to make it a 27-20 game at the half.

Then, things changed in the second half as the Steelers’ defense clamped down.

Coming out of the locker room for the second half, the two teams traded possessions before the Steelers got going offensively midway through the third quarter.

Roethlisberger found wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery for nine yards and Brown for 21 yards, eventually setting up a 21-yard field goal from Suisham, making it a 27-23 game with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

Detroit responded by putting together a pretty lengthy drive that appeared to be set to put the game away, but a bizarre call by then-head coach Jim Schwartz changed the game.

Facing a 27-yard field goal try on fourth down at the Steelers’ 10-yard line, Schwartz decided to call a fake field goal and try to have rookie punter Sam Martin run it in for a touchdown.

The decision backfired big-time as Martin fumbled and safety Ryan Clark recovered for the Steelers, igniting the Pittsburgh comeback.

Following the fake field goal attempt, Pittsburgh went on a methodical march down the field.

Roethlisberger found Brown for 16, Miller for 9 and again for 21 yards. Roethlisberger then scrambled for 10 yards, before then finding backup running back Jonathan Dwyer for 13 yards and then Cotchery for 19 yards.

The completion to Cotchery set up the eventual go-ahead touchdown as Roethlisberger found fullback Will Johnson wide open in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown, making it a 30-27 game.

Following the go-ahead touchdown, Pittsburgh’s defense did what it did best: take the football away.

On a third and 10 from its own 20-yard line, Detroit tried to go back to the same well that led to a Calvin Johnson touchdown earlier in the game, rolling Stafford out to his right and throwing back across the field. This time, the Steelers were ready.

Veteran safety Will Allen undercut the throw for the interception, racing 27 yards to the Detroit 34 to set up Pittsburgh in scoring position.

Five plays later, Roethlisberger found Cotchery on a fake screen off a pump fake for a 20-yard score, making it a 37-27 game with 2:35 left.

After the touchdown to Cotchery, the Steelers defense closed out the win as defensive end Ziggy Hood sacked Stafford on fourth and 15 from the Detroit 29-yard line. That allowed the Steelers to kneel out the win, moving to 4-6 on the year.

In the win, Roethlisberger threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns on 29-of-45 passing, adding another 12 yards on six carries. Bell rushed just 18 times for 36 yards but added four receptions for 52 yards, while Brown went off, hauling in seven passes for 147 yards and two scores. Miller added eight receptions for 67 yards while Cotchery finished with three receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Allen led the way with nine tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, while outside linebacker Jason Worilds contributed eight tackles, one sack and four quarterback hits. Young defensive lineman Cameron Heyward added six tackles and had a key pass breakup in the end zone late in the first half that forced the Lions to settle for a field goal.

For Detroit, Stafford had a great day, throwing for 362 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-46 passing, but he was picked off once and sacked twice. Bell finished with nine carries for 49 yards and a touchdown and added three receptions for 48 yards, while Johnson led the way with six receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively for Detroit, defensive tackle Nick Fairley recorded a sack, while Levy led the way with 12 tackles. Don Carey and Stephen Tulloch added nine tackles each.

The win moved Pittsburgh to 4-6 and was part of a three-game winning streak in a season where the Steelers finished 8-8 overall, missing the playoffs. The loss dropped Detroit to 6-4 on the season, a season in which they’d finish 7-9.

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