On Sunday Night Football the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills squared off in what could have been a playoff preview.
The Week 14 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills was a playoff preview. The Buffalo Bills won the game by a score of 26-15. The Bills were coming off a Monday night win against the San Francisco 49ers where Josh Allen put on a throwing clinic. Allen threw for 375 yards, four touchdowns, and 32 completions.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off their first loss of the season, to the Washington Football Team, after winning 11 straight. Therefore, Pittsburgh was coming into Buffalo to right the ship but Buffalo was trying to continue their momentum toward the playoffs.
How the game unfolded
Knowing that they had to punch the Bills in the mouth early, the Steelers defense, who are currently first in turnovers, were after Josh Allen early on in the game. The Bills offensive line could not contain linebacker T.J. Watt or defensive tackle Cameron Heyward early in the first quarter. The constant pressure was getting to Allen and that resulted in him throwing an early interception.
The Steelers offense was trying to avoid big Ben Roethlisberger being hit, so the offense decided to throw quick wide receiver screens and bubble passes. But the Steelers’ wide receivers continued to struggle with drops; which has been haunting them over the last couple of weeks. Once the drops started, the Steelers tried to run the ball against the Bills defense, which did not work either. With the Steelers run game being dead-last in the NFL over the last 6 weeks, their offense has become one dimensional.
Bills put the Steelers on the ropes
Even though Steelers defense was getting to Allen early, it certainly seemed Allen was just feeling them out. Near the end of the second quarter, Josh Allen and the offense seemed to be clicking. Allen threw a pass to Gabriel Davis and even though the throw resulted in an incompletion, Allen was finally starting to figure out the Steelers’ blitzes and coverages. Then Stefon Diggs caught an intermediate pass, bounced right off the defender, which led to a big explosive play for the Bills offense. Even though the drive only ended with a field goal, the game was leaning in favor of the Buffalo Bills.
On the Steelers next drive, Taron Johnson came up with a huge pick-six right before the game went into halftime.
Dominant Performance in the second half
Coming out of halftime, the Bills received the second half kickoff, went down the field and scored with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Diggs. On that drive, Allen went 5/5 for 50 yards. Although the game started out as a defensive battle, the Bills continued their momentum from the first half by sacking Roethlisberger for the first time in 275 passing attempts. Once the Bills got the ball back, Allen had another successful drive helping the offense march down the field for their second consecutive touchdown.
Too little too late
Even though the Steelers scored at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a pass from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster, the game was not over but it was too late.
In the second half, Allen went 11-11 for 125 yards and two touchdowns before throwing his first incompletion. The Bills defense got another turnover from Levi Wallace that for sure gave the Bills a victory. The Steelers struggled rushing the ball by failing to reach over 50 yards while the Bills out-rushed them with 104 yards.
Josh Allen may not win the NFL’s MVP award this year, but he has definitely showed up and continues showing the NFL that the Bills are a legit playoff contender and possibly a Super Bowl contender as well. If these two teams meet again in the playoffs, the intensity will be through the roof. And bring your popcorn because this will be a show that fans won’t want to miss.