Buffalo Bills defense holds the Steelers run game in check in Wild Card

The Pittsburgh Steelers have ran the ball with success throughout this season. But, Buffalo was able to hold them to a minimum leading to a berth into the AFC Divsional Round.
AFC Wildcard Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
AFC Wildcard Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-17 on a rescheduled Monday game to move on to the divisional round of the playoffs. They are now winners in 6 straight games and secured the franchise's 19th playoff win in history.

A big factor in the Bills' win over the Steelers was the run-stopping ability the defense showed throughout the game. The Steelers had recently been one of the best running teams in the NFL as the season has winded down. They have averaged nearly 118 rushing yards a game all season (11th in the NFL in rushing yards per game). Yet, Pittsburgh only had 106 total rushing yards on offense. And on 23 total carries, this came out to right around a 4-yard average.

Usually, the Steelers have depended upon Jaylen Warren in the run game this season. He improved overall in his second season and the Bills had to pick him up when playing him. Warren finished with a 4.8 yard average which is below his overall season one of 5.3 yards per carry. He had a total of 38 rushing yards on 8 carries. 

An interesting note is that the Steelers' offense has had under 20 points and Warren has had less than 50 total rushing yards in nine separate games this year. It seems that Warren is a spark for Pittsburgh on offense and Buffalo prevented that from igniting. This led to the Steelers not getting the points needed to keep up on the road against the Bills.

The other Steelers running back, Najee Harris, was kept at bay as well with just 3 yards per carry (12 carries for 37 yards). Neither Warren nor Harris had a run of 13 yards or more all game.

A combination of limited yards per carry and a lack of really big runs by the Pittsburgh running backs was big in keeping their offense from scoring in bunches. Thus, the Bills on defense were able to limit how the Steelers moved the ball by holding the run game of Pittsburgh to a minimum as much as possible.