Live by the sword and die by the sword.
As trendy and fun as the No Huddle offense is, it leaves a defense vulnerable to fatigue, and relies heavily upon early-down success. In the first half of the Steelers' Week 11 game against the Detroit Lions, the had some success with the sword.
And it nearly killed them.
Pittsburgh jumped out to a 14-0 lead as the Lions tried to withstand a pace they did not expect from the Steelers' offense. But two big plays from Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson brought them right back in it, and a game the Steelers completely dominated through the first 15 minutes turned into a 27-20 lead for Detroit at halftime.
Allowing big plays on defense has been a problem all season, but despite that, the Steelers employed a risky strategy against the high-powered Lions. The Steelers are down both LaMarr Woodley and Brett Keisel - their two best pass rushers - but chose a man coverage scheme anyway, hoping pressure they are bringing from all over (most notably from rookie OLB Jarvis Jones, who is playing inside quite a bit) would disrupt the Lions' passing scheme.
It worked. And then it didn't.
The Steelers are reeling now, having been outscored 27-6 since the start of the second quarter, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is on pace for 654 passing yards - he has 327 and two touchdowns at halftime.
Emmanuel Sanders is questionable to return after suffering a foot injury. The Steelers have thrown well, but are not running the ball much at all. It's anyone's guess how this one will end, but the Steelers will probably dial back the no-huddle offense in the second half.
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