Before you hyperventilate, the final score was a bit misleading.
The Bills fell to 0-3 this preseason on Saturday with a 38-7 loss to Pittsburgh. The Steelers led 14-7 at the half before blowing the game wide open in the second half.
The Buffalo starters played the first half and actually performed decently. After a defensive stop to open the game, Ryan Fitzpatrick drove the team quickly down the field, highlighted by a nice play-action pass to David Nelson. Fred Jackson finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD run.
The Steelers tied the score after getting the ball on a short field thanks to a C.J. Spiller lost fumble. Other than that, the Buffalo defense held Pittsburgh until the final drive of the half, where the Bills allowed the Steelers to convert on a third-and-long very deep in Pittsburgh territory. From there, the Steelers marched right down the field against a vanilla Buffalo prevent defense. The drive culminated in a 6-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown, giving Pittsburgh a 14-7 halftime lead.
Before the hideous final drive of the half, the Buffalo 1st-team defense performed rather well. The defensive line looked good, with Mario Williams picking up two sacks and Kyle Williams simply looking explosive and dominant. Nick Barnett was outstanding, racking up 10 tackles. Believe it or not, Leodis McKelvin is playing well in the nickel CB role, as well.
Offensively, it looked a little rough after the first scoring drive. Fitzpatrick had some accuracy issues and didn’t seem to be on the same page as star WR Stevie Johnson. Fitz ended up just 7-of-18 for 89 yards passing. Johnson caught three balls for 36 yards, but he was targeted nine times.
With Buffalo’s offensive struggles, punter Brian Moorman got a chance to shine, and did he ever. Moorman dropped four punts inside the 20. Rookie Shawn Powell has been good, but I can’t imagine him unseating Moorman for that job.
The second half featured the Buffalo reserves…and it was ugly. QB Vince Young was dreadful, going 12-for-26 passing for just 103 yards with two bad interceptions. Tyler Thigpen may have won the #2 QB job without playing tonight.
The second-team defense got torched for a long TD pass by Byron Leftwich on its first play on the field, and it didn’t get much better from there. The subs also gave up a long TD run in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh outscored Buffalo 24-0 with the subs in the game.