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Detroit Lions rally to defeat Pittsburg Steelers in preseason opener

By
The Sports Xchange
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) scrambles in the first quarter of the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on August 12, 2016. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) scrambles in the first quarter of the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on August 12, 2016. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Detroit rookie Dwayne Washington ran a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the Lions overcame an early 11-point deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

Another Lions rookie, quarterback Jake Rudock of Michigan, threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jace Billingsley later in the fourth -- after Washington's return and Rudock's 2-point conversion pass to Quinshad Davis put the Lions up 24-17.

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The Steelers took an early 14-3 lead on Doran Grant's 39-yard interception return score and Landry Jones' 29-yard scoring pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey. But the Lions' comeback began with backup QB Dan Orlovsky's 28-yard TD pass to Andre Roberts and Matt Prater's 31-yard field goal late in the second quarter.

The Steelers held out star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown, while Lions starting quarterback Matt Stafford played only briefly, going 4-of-6 for 56 yards.

Jones was 6-of-12 for 55 yards, while Bruce Gradkowski -- back after missing last season with a dislocated finger -- went 3-for-3 for 22 yards.

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Orlovsky saw most of the playing time for the Lions, who held some joint practices with the Steelers prior to the game, and finished 16 of 25 for 164 yards and an interception. Rudock was 5 of 11 for 72 yards.

Daryl Richardson of the Steelers was the only running back on either team with more than 24 yards rushing, carrying 11 times for 44 yards. Jeremy Kerley of Detroit led both teams with five catches for 36 yards as both teams played their backups, rookies and newcomers nearly all of the game.

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