BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Buffalo Bills 19-16 after Shaun Suisham’s gimme field goal to end the game.
The game itself started poorly for the Bills. Ben Roethlisberger threw for two touchdown passes while EJ Manuel was efficient, but unwilling to throw the ball down the field. The starting offense was able to move the ball very well against the Steelers, but the starting offense couldn’t punch the ball in for a touchdown. Manuel and company settled for six points and were stopped twice on 4th down in the first half.
Manuel’s backups, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel, didn’t exactly look great either. The two combined to go 6-of-15 for 66 yards and an interception. Both quarterbacks were able to scramble successfully at times, but overall neither impressed.
Defensively, the Bills once again looked dominant against the run. Pittsburgh was held to 35 yards on 18 carries. The biggest weakness of the 2013 Buffalo Bills, has been one of the team’s biggest strengths thus far in the preseason.
Landon Cohen continued his dominant play in the preseason by blowing up a running play for a loss and also recovering a fumble recovery and rumbling down field for 59 yards. He’s been extremely quick off the snap and will be very difficult for this coaching staff to cut. It should be noted that Alan Branch didn’t enter the game until the midway point of the 4th quarter, so the veteran may be at risk of being cut.
Late in the game, Cyrus Kouandjio, Buffalo’s second round pick, entered. At the end of the game he missed two consecutive blocks that led to Jeff Tuel sacks. The second led to a strip sack which gave the Steelers the ball at Buffalo’s one yard line. Kouandjio will make the roster as he was Buffalo’s second round pick, but his play has been disastrous thus far.
The best news of the evening is that Sammy Watkins’ injury is not serious. Early in the game, Watkins was hit in the ribs. He left the game and did not return. Various media outlets reported that the injury was not serious.
With two preseason games remaining, Buffalo’s starting offense needs to score touchdowns and build confidence to enter the regular season. EJ Manuel played better at home in 2013, so hopefully that trend will continue with the final two preseason games.
Suisham hits a 20 yard field goal to end the game. Steelers win 19-16.
The Steelers have a short field goal attempt coming with two seconds remaining. Should be a gimme.
Tuel gets sacked again after Kouandjio misses his block. The Bills fumble and the Steelers recover on the Bills one yard line.
Cyrus Kouandjio was beaten badly on the play. Not encouraging for a 2nd round pick.
Jeff Tuel gets sacks and the Bills use their second timeout.
Broomfield intercepts a Bruce Gradkowski pass that was tipped. Buffalo takes over on their own 29 with 43 seconds remaining.
Gradkowski scrambles for a first down with under one minute to play.
Gradkowski starts the drive with a 12 yard completion as the Steelers are in hurry-up mode.
Dan Carpenter’s kick is good and we’re all tied up at 16. Doug Marrone really wants to win this game it seems.
The Bills have brought out their field goal unit. This is an interesting strategy in the preseason as overtime doesn’t benefit either team.
Tuel pulls the ball down and the Bills may be going for it on 4th and long. Kicking the field goal and going to overtime really doesn’t benefit either team.
The Bills will face a 3rd and 9 with under three minutes remaining.
Buffalo picks up another first down on a Wingo run. Buffalo has the ball deep in Pittsburgh territory.
Gurley is playing well with a nice block on a Ronnie Wingo run.
Gurley makes another reception on a dangerous Jeff Tuel pass.
Tori Gurley picks up a first down on the next play and the Bills have the ball in Pittsburgh territory.
Tuel does a nice job of avoiding pressure on third down and picks up a first down on the ground.
Sam Miller and company make the stop on 3rd down and force the punt. The Bills take over with just a bit over six minutes to go in the 4th quarter.
Sam Miller makes a nice play on Gradkowski’s deep pass.
Buffalo’s backup quarterbacks have both looked pretty bad tonight, and that’s putting it kindly.
Suisham hits a 48 yard field goal and the Steelers regain the lead.
The Steelers are in field goal range after Gradkowski scrambles for eight yards.
Depending upon who gets cut at QB in the next few weeks, the Bills may want to bring in a veteran at quarterback.
Dan Carpenter misses a 49 yard field goal and we’re still tied up at 13.
Tuel underthrows a pass on third down that could have been intercepted.
Ian Rapoport is reporting that Sammy Watkins is fine after an injury scare tonight.
Tuel moves the chains with a completion to Chris Gragg on third down.
It’s Tuel time as Jeff Tuel is in at quarterback for the Bills as we end the third quarter.
Gradkowski and the Steelers go three and out after a screen pass falls a few yards short. Buffalo’s defense has really played well after the first two series.
Thad Lewis with a poor pass that leads to an interception. Lewis overthrew Chris Gragg quite a bit on the play.
Thad Lewis has shown some athleticism tonight and gets a nice run on first down after gaining 10 yards.
The Steelers turned to their third string quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski, late in the 3rd quarter. Pittsburgh’s drive goes no where and the Bills take over in great field position after a face mask penalty on the punt return.
Lewis throws away a pass and then throws an errant pass on 2nd down. On third down, Lewis does a nice job of avoiding pressure, but can’t connect with Kevin Elliott.
Buffalo’s defense stops the Steelers and Pittsburgh was forced to punt. It’s interesting and odd that Aaron Williams is still in the game. T.J. Graham returns the punt 20 yards to Buffalo’s 47 yard line.
Anthony Dixon dives and stretches the ball across the goal line for the touchdown.
Thad Lewis throws the ball to the end zone to Kevin Elliott but the WR is tackled. Pass interference gives Buffalo the ball on the Steelers one yard line.
FAT MAN FUMBLE RETURN! Landon Cohen picks up a fumble and returns it 63 yards deep into Steelers territory.
Landry Jones throws a pass to the end zone and Ron Brooks is guilty of holding Martavis Bryant.
Landry Jones throws a screen pass to Archer for a 35 yard gain. Buffalo’s pressure backfired on that play.
The call on the field stands and Pittsburgh takes over. On the first play, Landon Cohen had an incredible jump and stopped the Steelers RB for a two yard loss.
Evan Rodriguez did a nice job of catching the pass and running through a Steelers defender. The ball comes out on the way down, but Rodriguez may have stepped out of bound beforehand.
Thad Lewis is coming in to start the second half. He’s had a rough training camp and needs to put together a good performance this evening.
Buffalo’s second string defense is doing a great job of pressuring Landry Jones to start the second half. Stefan Charles has a sack and Corbin Bryant had terrific pressure on a holding penalty.
Dan Carpenter is booming the ball. There may be no need to carry Dustin Hopkins as a kickoff specialist.
Manuel’s pass on 3rd down to Woods was off-target and led Woods out of bounds. The Bills go for it again on 4th down and Scott Chandler cannot haul in the pass.
Fred Jackson gains nine yards on a slant on 3rd and 5. 1st and goal Bills.
Nickell Robey intercepts a Landry Jones pass and he Bills take over in Pittsburgh territory. Manuel is back in the game.
The Bills get stuffed on a long 3rd and 1. The Bills go for it on 4th and 1 but Manuel’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
EJ Manuel and Robert Woods had great chemistry last season and it’s great to see them clicking on this drive. The Bills will surely be a run-first team, but Manuel needs to make the most of his passes.
Sammy Watkins is out for the rest of the game with a rib injury. The severity of the injury is unknown.
Manuel and the starting offense are taking the field again.
The Bills defense gets their first stop of the evening as Brandon Spikes hits Heath Miller immediately after an eight yard gain on 3rd and 9. Buffalo’s defense needed that after giving up two touchdowns on their first two series.
The Bills drive stalls out after an incomplete pass and intentional grounding call. Dan Carpenter’s 53 yard field goal sails through the uprights. We’ll see if Buffalo’s starters take the field again tonight.
Buffalo’s offense has moved the ball with some success tonight. The score isn’t encouraging after the first quarter, but if this drive ends in a touchdown we should feel pretty good about the offense.
Two discouraging series for Buffalo’s defense tonight. On the second series, the Steelers started with terrific field position, but not being able to hold Pittsburgh on 3rd and 11 is frustrating. It should be noted that Roethlisberger made a perfect pass to Wheaton on the play.
Ben Roethlisberger finds Marcus Wheaton in the corner of the end zone on 3rd and 11 for his second touchdown pass of the game.
Free play for the Steelers as Mario Williams jumped offsides. Roethlisberger’s pass to Antonio Bryant in the end zone was overthrown.
Manuel attempts to squeeze a pass to Scott Chandler into tight coverage but rookie Ryan Shazier intercepts the pass and returns the ball to the Bills’ 35 yard line. Definitely a pass Manuel would like to have back.
Buffalo has struggled with screen passes in their last two preseason games. For whatever reason, they are getting sniffed out immediately.
The Bills benefit from a personal foul taunting penalty from Mike Mitchell. It’s just preseason, but that’s never a smart decision.
Sammy Watkins was kicked in the back or ribs on Buffalo’s first series and is not in the game.
Antonio Brown takes a slant 76 yards for a touchdown. Da’Norris Searcy took a bad angle on the play.
Buffalo’s first string offense has still not scored a touchdown in the preseason, but they did a nice job of moving the ball on their first series.
C.J. Spiller has a terrific return to start the game. The Bills will start on their own 37 yard line.
Buffalo’s run defense has been impressive this preseason, but will face quite the test tonight against Pittsburgh. It’ll be interesting to see how Buffalo’s starting front seven and reserves plays against the run tonight.
Buffalo Bills inactive tonight versus the Steelers: