The Bills and Steelers will face off in preseason action after holding joint practices this week. (Keith Srakocic, AP)
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.