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Other Week 5 Game Recaps

Week 5 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Detroit Lions 20

Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pass: 23 - 30 - 277 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0

Ben Roethlisberger systematically picked the Detroit Lions apart, finishing yet another contest with a completion rate over 70%. Only one pick six thrown late on an out pass to Mike Wallace kept him from having an outstanding QB rating, but it was still over 120. He was fortunate to have another INT called back due to a roughing the passer penalty, but he also should have had another touchdown to Wallace who dropped what should have been a 71-yard catch and run to the rookie. Roethlisberger found both Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward open well downfield all game, and on the rare occasions where he had to check down it was TE Heath Miller and the two Steeler backs (Mendenhall, Moore) who picked up the slack. Look for Roethlisberger to continue his hot pace next week home against the Browns.

RB Rashard Mendenhall, Rush: 15 - 77 - 1, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets)

Rashard Mendenhall took full advantage of both getting the start and also facing Detroit in Week 5. He ran hard and got several yards after first contact, but his two touchdowns were simple strolls into the end zone as he easily turned the corner and went untouched into the end zone both times. Mendenhall will at least see half of the touches once Willie Parker (turf toe) is healthy, but he is making a strong push to get the majority of the touches once both are healthy. Mendenhall is a strong candidate to be the lead back again next week as Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland.

RB Mewelde Moore, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)

After Pittsburgh mentioned last week that they wanted to see more Moore in the offense, his touches were still low in Week 5 against Detroit. Mewelde Moore was used on passing downs, in shotgun formation or when Rashard Mendenhall needed a short rest, but for the most part he was minimized due to Mendenhall's strong play. Even Mendenhall had two catches, eating into Moore's chances. Moore is a change of pace back with unpredictable upside so he cannot be relied upon for fantasy purposes.

RB Willie Parker

Willie Parker missed another game in Week 5 due to his continuing issues with turf toe. The Steelers are still a few weeks away from their bye (Week 8), so Parker is still trying to get on the field and reclaim his starting spot. The Pittsburgh coaches are still saying that the job is still his, but Rashard Mendenhall is making a strong bid to push Parker down the depth chart.

WR Hines Ward, Rec: 7 - 85 - 1 (7 targets)

Hines Ward looked more like the top Steeler wideout option again, leading Pittsburgh with seven targets and converting all of them against the weak Detroit Lion defense. Ward even found the end zone for the first time all season, pushing through two would-be tacklers for a 21-yard touchdown. Ward worked the under routes and middle of the field, helping the Steelers to a quick lead and 21-13 halftime lead. Ward looked quick and strong, securing everything thrown his way and with no hesitation in going over the middle.

WR Santonio Holmes, Rec: 4 - 50 - 0 (6 targets)

Santonio Holmes was wide open at every turn in Week 5 against the Lions, racking up yardage quickly in the first half with four catches for 50 yards. He was open for 10-20 yards at a clip and took full advantage of the suspect secondary. Only the play calling kept him from a much bigger game as Pittsburgh stuck to a conservative approach after the half with just seven pass attempts in the third and fourth quarters.

WR Mike Wallace, Rec: 2 - 52 - 1 (5 targets)

Rookie wideout Mike Wallace staked his claim to be the WR3 for Pittsburgh, catching two passes for 52 total yards in Week 5 against Detroit. Wallace got behind the defense for a 47-yard deep catch for his first career touchdown, but he also was open beyond coverage and dropped what should have been a 71-yard score. It remains to be seen if Pittsburgh can support three wideouts for fantasy production, but as of now Wallace is way ahead of Limas Sweed for the job.

WR Limas Sweed (1 targets)

The good news for Limas Sweed was that he was not inactive in Week 5, but the bad news was he was a distant WR4 in the lineup for the Steelers. Sweed had one target on the first Pittsburgh series which was incomplete and then he never saw action again.

TE Heath Miller, Rec: 5 - 54 - 1 (6 targets)

Miller helped the Steelers to a quick lead in the first half, catching all five of his short passes before halftime. Miller caught all but one of his targets as he went 5 for 5 after one pass sailed wide early. Miller feasted on short passes, racking up 9-15 yards on each of his grabs on the side and over the middle, highlighted by a TE screen for a touchdown in the second quarter. Miller remains a borderline fantasy TE1 and a solid start during bye weeks and up against good matchups.

Detroit Lions

QB Daunte Culpepper, Pass: 23 - 37 - 282 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 44 - 0

Daunte Culpepper stepped in to start for Matthew Stafford against the Steelers in Week 5. He showed good speed when running out of the pocket, something he had to do quite often with LB James Harrison speeding in his direction on several occasions. Culpepper threw well and spread the ball to nine different receivers, a fact unfortunately helped some by the loss of Calvin Johnson to injury early in the contest. Culpepper still tends to hold the ball a little too long and also overthrew some open targets, but overall he did quite well against a tough opponent. Culpepper is likely to start again next week (at Green Bay) to buy Matthew Stafford two weeks off thanks to Detroit's Week 7 bye.

QB Matthew Stafford

Stafford was held out of the Week 5 contest with Pittsburgh due to his knee subluxation. The Lions have a bye in Week 7 after they visit Green Bay next week, so Detroit may wait one extra game to buy Stafford extra time off.

RB Kevin Smith, Rush: 20 - 53 - 0, Rec: 3 - 42 - 0 (4 targets)

Kevin Smith struggled to get any room to run in Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He looked healthy and ready to go, finally getting some decent runs and screen pass catches after halftime, but the Lions had to throw most of the fourth quarter as they trailed by 15 late in the contest. Smith still walked away with 23 touches on the afternoon and should do better against Green Bay next week in a more favorable matchup.

RB Jerome Felton, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (4 targets)

Jerome Felton only had four touches in Week 5 for Detroit, but he made the most of them. Felton's only carry came in the third quarter on third and long but he took the inside draw for eight yards and a first down. Felton added that carry to a nice 27 yard catch and run out of the backfield in the first quarter, picking up most of the yardage after the catch. Felton may pass Morris as the backup to Kevin Smith at this rate, but neither gets enough touches to present much fantasy value.

RB Maurice Morris, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (2 targets)

Maurice Morris was mostly an afterthought for Detroit against the Steelers. Morris finished the afternoon with just two touches, highlighted by a short dump off pass from Daunte Culpepper as he tried to avoid a sack. Morris scrambled for 16 yards on the second quarter play but then disappeared for the rest of the afternoon.

WR Dennis Northcutt, Rec: 5 - 70 - 1 (8 targets)

Dennis Northcutt racked up the most yardage against the Steelers, converting five of his eight targets for 70 yards including a 25-yard touchdown over the middle. Northcutt stepped up when Calvin Johnson left the game and became a nice target for Daunte Culpepper down the middle of the field. Northcutt also should get another catch of nine yards once the game book is reviewed with Bryant Johnson inadvertently credited with his nine yard catch. Northcutt will likely benefit the most if Calvin Johnson misses any time.

WR Bryant Johnson, Rec: 4 - 35 - 0 (8 targets)

Bryant Johnson had eight targets against the Steelers in Week 5, tied for the team lead with fellow wideout Dennis Northcutt. That number gets an asterisk though because Calvin Johnson went down in the first quarter and had to leave the game. Johnson worked the intermediate and deeper routes, stretching the field without Calvin Johnson in the lineup, but Daunte Culpepper never got him the ball when he was open, including a deep 40 yarder in the third quarter where the ball sailed well over his head. Johnson was credited on Monday with four catches and 35 yards, but the box score was wrong -- Dennis Northcutt actually grabbed his late nine yard catch. Look for the NFL to make a scoring / stat change sometime this week after the game is reviewed.

WR Calvin Johnson, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets)

Calvin Johnson did not let a bruised thigh keep him from starting in Week 5 against Pittsburgh. He caught one ball for a couple of yards and then hurt his leg and had to leave the game in the first quarter. He was unable to return to the game against Pittsburgh and not much is being revealed about the leg injury after the game. Johnson and the Lions have an interesting decision to make as Detroit visits Green Bay in Week 6 but the next week is Detroit's bye. Should Detroit decide to rest Johnson, they would in effect give him an extra two weeks off due to the bye.

TE Brandon Pettigrew, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (6 targets)

Rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew made three solid catches against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, highlighted by a leaping 19-yard grab down the middle of the field right after halftime. QB Daunte Culpepper nearly overthrew him but Pettigrew reeled it in, but he paid the price and was hit hard in the back. Culpepper did not consistently put the ball in a catchable place for the rookie with good hands to make a play and he cannot be faulted for the three targets he did not catch.

TE Will Heller, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (1 targets)

Heller caught one pass in Week 5 for 16 yards as he caught a backside screen pass and made a good play to pick up extra yardage, but Detroit is not a strong enough passing game to support two tight ends. Heller is way down the target food chain and well behind Brandon Pettigrew.