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Overreaction to the Steelers defensive effort vs. Lions is offensive and overblown

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In the first of a series of meaningless games that don't count, the Pittsburgh Steelers watched Detroit move the ball with relative ease Friday at Heinz Field. For JP, it's time for Steelers fans & pundits to take a page out of Aaron Rogers book and R-E-L-A-X.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Take a breath everyone, it's just the first preseason game.

In an era where over-analyzing, over-publicizing, over-exposure and over-the-top commentary rules the day, the defensive effort of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday on the surface would bring out the worst in people, and did it ever.

Social media was abuzz with how poor the starters looked, or at least what Mike Tomlin trotted out on the field.

I can say I didn't watch the 2nd half, but the first 30 minutes I saw every play and, even in the overall analysis of things, I have to say that despite the big yards given up, the end results were not as bad as you think.

Yep, you read that right, some positive commentary.

But please don't tell anyone.

Why the optimism you ask? What did I see that others maybe chose to ignore or not focus on? Well, let's talk about it.

The first series was a 12 play, 53-yard excursion by the Lions that allowed 6:16 off the 1st quarter clock. It included pass plays of 10, 16 and 30 yards, all of which came on 3rd down. That's not a lot to be excited about.

That's until you see how that drive ended.

After a Detroit penalty cost them 10 yards, and took them out of the red-zone, forcing another 3rd and long, the defense got testy as old man as James Harrison forced a sack of Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who then fumbled the ball, eventually landing in the arms of Arthur Moats.

That, my friends, is a win.

Coaches will yammer and jaw it up about the 'disappointment' of how poor the team may have played, but that end result will always be marked as a victory because in the end it was ZERO points put up on the scoreboard.

After a series of punts and quarter change, the Lions began their 3rd drive inside their 30, and it didn't take long for free agent signing Ricardo Mathews to apply pressure on QB Dan Orlovsky, forcing the backup to make a poor thro which Doran Grant picked off and returned 39-yards for the games first score.

Turnover No. 2 in less than 16 minutes. 

Granted, the rest of the way it didn't go so well, but by that point, many of the guys you saw won't see much playing time, let alone be in uniform come September 12th when the season begins in Washington D.C. against the Redskins.

Is there really a need to be in such an uproar over this? Keep in mind the fact this team has four full weeks to tinker, toil and turn it around, I'd say no.

Yes there is some positive to be found in the murk and mire of such a dreadful loss. A preseason loss.

Much of the talk regarding success in 2016 surrounded around the defensive play coming from the Steelers. They re-tooled their secondary, which has been their weak spot over the years.

In the past, I've been on that bandwagon, jumping up and down over something like this. Last year during the HOF game, I railed against coach Tomlin's decision not to use a free-agent kicker, instead opting to go with newly re-signed Shaun Suisham. The additional pre-season game leaves teams open for extra injuries like this one, and it took a while for the team to land on Chris Boswell who did well.

The bottom line is this. You can complain and worry all you want. The game doesn't count for anything other than commentary and coaching. See it for what it was. What I saw wasn't as bad as you think.

John Phillips is the author of this column and has covered sports in Pittsburgh professionally since 1991. You can follow him on Twitter @PGHJohnPhillips