With the Steelers on the ropes, down 27-23 after having just been forced to settle for a field goal despite having three shots to score from the Detroit 1, the Lions drove to the Pittsburgh 10 early in the fourth quarter.
Facing a fouth-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 10, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz sent out his field goal team for an apparent field goal that would have given the Lions a 30-23 lead.
Instead, the Lions attempted a fake on a direct snap to holder Sam Martin. Martin doesn't double as a quarterback, running back or any other kind of back who might be comfortable with the football in his hands.
Martin is a punter by trade. And he looked like a punter running with the ball, fumbling it when hit by defensive linemen Cameron Heyward and Steve McLendon at the Pittsburgh 7, three yards short of the first-down marker.
Martin, by the way, had one more offensive touch in the second half of this game than Calvin Johnson.
Brown, all 5-10, 186 pounds of him, leaped high into the air to snag the ball and held on despite taking a big hit at the Detroit 20. Some 13 plays later – including a crucial fourth-down conversion on a 3-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Bell – the Steelers scored on a second opportunity from the Detroit 1.
Later, Roethlisberger scrambled for 10 yards on third-and-12 to set up a short fourth-and-2 pass to Le'Veon Bell for three yards.
It was the defining drive of this game. And if the Steelers somehow find a way to earn a playoff spot this season – they're now a game out of the second wild card spot in the AFC – it would be the defining drive of the season.
"Hopefully, three or four months from now we can look back at it and say it was," said tight end Heath Miller of the 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive.
Can the Steelers turn around what has been, to this point, a lost season? Perhaps. Losses to Minnesota, Oakland and Tennessee still loom large.
But as the Steelers showed Sunday, they can go toe-to-toe with a team that is considered one of the league's best and win. And outside of a trip to Green Bay in late December, there aren't any great teams left on the schedule. Heck, there aren't many good ones remaining.
Cincinnati is the only other team remaining other than the Packers - who should have Aaron Rodgers back by the time they host Pittsburgh - with a winning record. And the Bengals are winning games in spite of themselves.
There is, however, still a lot of work to be done if the Steelers are going to be relevant this season.
"We are out to play every game like it is the most important," said Roethlisberger. "I told you guys that I wasn't going to quit. There was no quit from me or from anyone on the team."
@ Can the Steelers make the playoffs? Why not? Outside of Kansas City, Denver and New England, who is any good in the AFC?
@ The Steelers had 11 pass defenses Sunday. Coming into this game, they had 29 as a team in their first nine games.
@ I liked seeing Jarvis Jones get his hands on a couple of passes at the line of scrimmage. He did a lot of that in training camp and in the preseason, when he wasn't thinking so much, he was just reacting.
Perhaps the light is starting to come on for the young man.
@ I also liked what Jason Worilds brought in this game. He's much-maligned on the message boards, but Worilds had a big sack in the third quarter and a big pressure of Stafford on the possession before that.
The pressure Worilds was able to bring - he had four of the team's five quarterback hits - helped force Stafford into some bad throws.
@ There was some irony to the fact that Dallas cut Will Allen a couple of weeks before Detroit put up 634 yards against the Cowboys in a 31-30 victory, and Allen was then a key component of the Steelers beating the Lions.
There was also some irony to the fact that Allen's read on his interception came from recognizing a play the Lions had used with Calvin Johnson in that game against the Cowboys.
@ As stated before, Suh had no tackles and no pressures in this game.
Want to see why? Watch what David DeCastro did to him on Roethlisberger's second TD pass.
DeCastro took Suh, turned him and drove him past Roethlisberger, who was stepping up in the pocket. As Roethlisberger unloosed a pass to Brown, DeCastro kept right on rolling with Suh, burying him 15 yards in the backfield.
@ I like the usage of the no-huddle by the Steelers throughout the game. And the Steelers stuck with it, even after Allen's interception holding a 30-27 lead.
They didn't necessarily rush their plays, running the clock down, but they stayed with the game plan.