A Sunday snowy afternoon in Orchard Park brought with it a great game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers won the game 27-20, but it would be Le’Veon Bell that would steal the show and headlines; he put on a performance that would be remembered for years to come.
The Steelers’ offense wasted no time, as Ben Roethlisberger found the versatile Bell early and often. They put together an 8 play, 64 yard drive that unfortunately resulted in no points, as Ben’s redzone pass intended for Ladarius Green was intercepted by Lorenzo Alexander. A tough start, but the it would be but a minor blip in the offensive game plan for the Steelers all half long.
The following offensive possession would result in points, as Ben found Antonio Brown along the sideline for a signature splash reception of 40 yards- Bell would eventually drive in the ball from the 3 yard line, capping an 8 play, 71 yard drive that saw the Steelers take an early 7-0 lead.
It must be noted that the Steelers’ defense looked as though they were using the momentum built in the previous three games- they had 4 sacks in the first half, and a would-be pick six by William Gay if not for a defensive hold on Artie Burns– it was clear they were bullying the Bills’ offense.
The second quarter started with a bang, as Bell would grab his second touchdown run of the game, this time from 7 yards out- this would all be thanks to a meticulous drive that saw the team put together a 10 play, 56 yard drive that included a key fourth down conversion from Roethlisberger to David Johnson. The offensive line was winning the battle of attrition, as the lead grew to 14-0.
The bad did rear it’s ugly head as well, though; Stephon Gilmore would intercept a Ben-to-AB pass for the second turnover of the game. Tyrod Taylor would turn it into points, finding the slanting Sammy Watkins for an 8 yard touchdown reception. The lead would be cut to 14-7 heading into halftime.
Overall, the Steelers looked to be in the driver’s seat, especially if they put a stop to their self-inflicted wounds.They had 13 first downs, went 4-7 on 3rd downs, and had 239 total yards of offense; compare that to the Bills’ 6 first downs, 1-5 on 3rd downs and 93 total yards, and you’ll understand what I mean. Le’Veon Bell had a monstrous first half, with 77 yards on the ground, 48 in the air, and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
The second half mirrored the pattern of the first; more and more Bell. He accounted for 72 of the team’s 82 yards on their first offensive possession, which included a 24 yarder. He would inevitably cap the drive with a touchdown run, his third of the game. Lead grew once more to 21-7.
It was difficult to look passed Bell’s masterpiece, but Ben really did struggle today- especially in the red zone. He would throw his third interception of the game on the proceeding drive, after once again leaning on Bell all the way down the field. It would be Zach Brown who would intercept a play-action short seam intended for Jesse James in the end zone.
Ironically enough, Taylor would give it right back a la an Artie Burns interception on his first attempt of the drive.
This would result in a Chris Boswell field goal from 37 yards- it was nice to see him kick well in the elements after missing last week’s contest. 24-7 for the black and gold.
Although the defense played quite well for most of the afternoon, they had a minor blip in their performance- Tyrod Taylor found LeSean McCoy for a 41 yard reception, which would be followed up with a 40 yard touchdown reception by Charles Clay– it should be noted that both were aided by a copious amount of missed tackles. Dan Carpenter would miss the extra point, as the lead shrunk to 24-13.
Boswell would tack on a 39 yard field goal, and another McCoy touchdown from 1 yard out that capped an 8 play, 75 yard drive made the final score 27-20.
The Steelers celebrated more than just a much needed 27-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Bell had a historic day- he accumulated 236 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns, which is now a Pittsburgh Steelers record as he surpassed the likes of Willie Parker‘s 223 yard performance. Pair that with his 4 receptions for 62 yards, and his 298 total yards speaks to the dominance he and his offensive line exuded in Orchard Park.
The team looks to carry this four game winning streak into Cincinnati next week; they look to take on their final three opponents, all of which happens to be AFC north rivals as they make their push into the postseason.