The Pittsburgh Steelers face off with the Buffalo Bills this evening in their fourth of five preseason games, in the ‘tune up’ dress rehearsal for the regular season. The team will be getting its first extended look at their new offensive line after the injury to Maurkice Pouncey, replaced until he returns by Cody Wallace.
Since the last game, the Steelers also received word that second-year wide receiver Martavis Bryant will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season. The man most likely to replace him for the majority of snaps he will be missing, Darrius Heyward-Bey, is inexplicably inactive for the game. That should give rookie Sammie Coates an opportunity to solidify himself and gain some trust from Ben Roethlisberger.
Not dressed for the game for the Steelers are C Pouncey, DE Stephon Tuitt, WR Heyward-Bey, S Mike Mitchell, LB Lawrence Timmons, TE Cameron Clear, and TE Ray Hamilton.
Dressing for the first time this preseason are S Ross Ventrone and LB Vince Williams. CB Cortez Allen will also dress.
Among those not dressed for the Bills are WR Sammy Watkins, WR Robert Woods, WR Percy Harvin, RB LeSean McCoy, and S Leodis McKelvin.
The Steelers got the ball first and received. DeAngelo Williams received the first carry for no gain. Roethlisberger’s pass on second down was incomplete. Former Steeler Corbin Bryant freed himself for a sack on third down. Brad Wing‘s punt was returned to the Steelers’ 43.
The Bills nearly scored on their first play on a run up the left side from 43 yards out. Cornerback William Gay was put on his back to clear the way. With first and goal now on the two-yard line, Sean Spence made the tackle on first down, but Fred Jackson was able to jump over the pile to score, jumping out to an early 7-0 lead. L.T. Walton started over Cam Thomas.
Roethlisberger found Williams five yards out, making a couple of defenders miss for a 10-yard gain. Williams found room up the right side for 14 yards on the next play. From the 44, Heath Miller dropped an easy pass in a rare sight. A late flag was thrown on second down on a deep pass targeted for Martavis Bryant. The pass interference penalty brought the Steelers to the 21.
On first and 10 just outside the red zone, Roethlisberger found Markus Wheaton over the middle for 20 yards before being tackled at the one-yard line. Williams walked in from one yard out on the following play. After the touchdown, the Steelers were able to convert the two-point conversion, with Williams slipping, but able to get back up and into the end zone before being tagged.
Allen missed a tackle on the first reception in his direction, allowing a first down. Vince Williams made the tackle on Jackson near the line of scrimmage on the following play. On second down, after a delay of game, Charles Clay split the safeties for a long touchdown. Williams was unable to get depth to follow the tight end down the field. The Bills failed to convert their two-point try, leading now 13-8.
Michael Vick took over on the third drive, immediately going deep to Bryant and connecting deep down the field. Le’Veon Bell was stopped on the next carry, with Ramon Foster flagged for a hold. After a short pass to Roosevelt Nix, Vick had to call a timeout in preparation for third and 11. Targeting Bryant in the end zone, the cornerback drew a pass interference as a fight broke out. Bell was in the middle of it.
From the three, Bell was able to get to the one-yard line. Vick threw out of bounds on second down. On third and goal from the one, Vick’s pass was incomplete, wide ride of Bryant in the shallow right corner of the end zone, with Matt Spaeth charged for unnecessary roughness. From the 11, a pitch to Dri Archer gained just six yards. Garrett Hartley‘s fourth field goal attempt of the preseason was good from 28 yards out.
Hartley held his leg after a kickoff that was fielded for a touchback. Matt Cassel completed to Clay for two yards. Jackson reached the 25-yard line on second down. On third and five, Gay missed a tackle on a crossing route over the middle, but the receiver was flagged for offensive pass interference. On third and 15, Cameron Heyward sacked Cassel to force the punt. Archer was back to return, initially muffing the punt, but picking it up and returning it about 13 yards.
After two short runs set up third and five, Vick managed to escape pressure and hit Bryant in shallow space with room to run, turning it into a first down and a 33-yard gain. From the 15, Nix took a pass four yards. Josh Harris was stuffed in the backfield for a loss of three. On third and nine, Vick was sacked after Harris was late picking up a rusher. With Hartley injured, on fourth and 17, Vick was forced to scramble, coming up well short of the first down.
On third and one, the Bills were able to convert against the second-team unit with Daniel McCullers at nose tackle. Ethan Hemer deflected the pass at the line, with Brandon Boykin very nearly coming up with the interception that was destined for six point. Cassel converted on third and nine to his receiver on the next play.
On third and short after a short completion to the tight end, Ryan Shazier ripped the running back down at the line of scrimmage. After a tipped pass by Walton, the receiver managed to still hang on to the ball. On third and short, the Bills were flagged for a false start, after a timeout. On third and 10 now, Cassel was forced to scramble and Spence stuck him in midair to keep him short of the conversion. Buffalo’s field goal attempt was wide left.
Landry Jones took over under center with Harris getting the first carry. Jawon Chisholm was stopped for no gain, setting up third and eight. On third down, Jones found Shakim Phillips for the conversion. Jones and Bryant hooked up for a long touchdown. On the two-point play, Jones found Sammie Coates to grab a 19-13 lead.
Jordan Berry kicked off for the Steelers and registered a touchback from the 50 after a defensive penalty. Ethan Hemer made the tackle down the field on a good-sized gain, with the receiver staying down for some time.
After a two-yard gain, Jarvis Jones missed a tackle on the tight end after a reception to set up a third and short, converted over Robert Golden. After a pair of first down throws, the Bills took over at the 14. On third and goal from the three, Tyrod Taylor threw his first incompletion on the far right corner of the end zone. Coming up just shy on the second down carry, on third and short, the Bills were able to punch it in with 35 second remaining in the half.
Following a touchback, Jones, first pass down the field was incomplete. Harris dropped a short pass on second down, gaining just a couple yards on a third-down run. The Bills called a timeout to get the ball back, with Wing making the tackle. Following an erroneously ruled completion, the Bill were good from 52 yards out to end the half wit ha 23-19 lead.