Buffalo Bills Week 15 Instant Reactions: Defense secures playoff spot
By Randy Gurzi
The Buffalo Bills defense comes up huge as they shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. A 17-10 win also locked up a playoff spot for the second time in three seasons for Buffalo.
It was a defensive battle from the start. The Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers went back and forth throughout the first half and ended up going into the break with just 10 total points scored.
The Bills, who had a 7-3 lead at that half ended up struggling to get anything going on offense in the third quarter.
Pittsburgh took advantage, scoring a touchdown to take the 10-7 lead. That score came courtesy of James Conner, who took a pass from Devlin Hodges 11-yards for a score.
From there, the defenses continued to battle with the Bills finally making a huge play to shift the momentum. Cornerback Tre’Davious White, who scared fans earlier when he hurt his shoulder, ended up picking off Hodges for the second time on the night.
White ran it 49-yards but was pushed out of bounds by Pittsburgh offensive lineman Matt Feiler. That play from Feiler saved points as the Bills offense gained no yards and had to settle for the game-tying field goal from Stephen Hauschka.
That was their first score of the fourth quarter but it was not their last. Buffalo took the lead for good on their ensuing possession. Following a three-and-out, the Bills went 70-yards on six plays to take the lead. The big play on that drive was the first one as Josh Allen hit John Brown for a 40-yard gain.
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Allen then capped off the drive by hitting Tyler Kroft from 14-yards out to go up 17-10. Buffalo also had some luck on that drive as Devin Singletary actually fumbled it in the red zone but was able to get back on top of the ball, allowing Allen to make the third-down play to Kroft.
Once again, the defense took over from there. Pittsburgh got into the red zone late but needed to convert on a fourth-down to try and tie the game.
Hodges went for wide receiver Deon Cain but safety Jordan Poyer stepped up and picked off the pass in the end zone.
Pittsburgh ended up with one last shot as they got the ball back after Buffalo forced them to use all their timeouts. Unfortunately, the Bills made it more intense than it needed to be.
An offensive holding on Quinton Spain gave the Bills a free timeout, as did a facemask on Matt Milano when Devlin Hodges dumped a pass off to James Conner.
Then, the defense once again got it done.
Jordan Phillips got his second sack of the game, giving him 9.5 on the season, and the Steelers had to hurry up from there. A desperation pass then ended up in the hands of Levi Wallace as the Bills secured the win and a spot in the playoffs.
If anything is for sure, this defense is for real. They can make life hard on any team in the postseason.