The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking a 14-7 lead into the second half, but the feeling of the game is that they should be up by more than that. Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions, one of which was picked off in the red zone. The other was intercepted and returned to the seven-yard line, which set up the Bills for their lone score. Le’Veon Bell has both of the Steelers’ scores on the ground. He has 77 rushing yards on 13 carries, and another 48 yards on three receptions.
The turnovers are really what has been keeping Buffalo in the game, as it robbed the Steelers of one possession in scoring position and set up their own trip into Steelers territory. They have done very little on offense outside of that. The defense has played well overall, with four sacks. The Steelers’ line, meanwhile, has played very well, including B.J. Finney filling in for Ramon Foster.
The start of the second half appears to be delayed due to the Bills’ grounds crew putting pellets down on the field during the break. They are now working on clearing the pellets out, using everything from tractors to their feet.
Roosevelt Nix blew up the returner again on the kickoff, making the tackle at the 15-yard line. Tyrod Taylor took an option run and was stopped at the line of scrimmage by Bud Dupree. The tight end dropped the pass on second down. On third and 10, Sammy Watkins, who has the Bills’ score, made the reception in front of Ross Cockrell for the first down.
Another run stop began the next sequence for a loss of one. Taylor just barely was able to avoid a sack, winning the sideline to pick up a yard. On third and 10, Stephon Tuitt got a hand on Taylor’s pass for a batted pass that was popped up for an incompletion. On the ensuing punt, Brown ran a long way for no gain at the 17.
Bell found his hole for about 13 yards on first down. Out of 22 personnel, he plowed ahead for another five. A sweep run to the left picked six yards, which put him over 100 rushing yards for the fourth consecutive game, double his second-longest such streak in his career. The offense stayed on the ground with Bell going for three on the next carry. Coming out of a timeout, Finney was docked for a false start.
Bell got free for 24 yards on his next carry, his second explosive run of the season. Another four yards followed on the next carry. He got stopped after about a yard to set up a third and three. Ben Roethlisberger threw his first pass of the half, connecting with Cobi Hamilton to move the sticks, getting to the 14. Bell added another eight yards down to the five. With Nix leading the way around the left edge, Bell punched it in untouched for his third rushing touchdown of the game, as the Steelers took a 21-7 lead.
From the 25, Taylor completed a pass to Clay for about 27 yards, but an illegal shift negated the big gain. Taylor grounded the ball seeing Davis come in on a blitz. On second and 15, a screen to McCoy got most of the yardage, but still set up a third and four. Cockrell was in coverage in front of Clay to force an incompletion, deflecting the pass. The Bills were forced to punt as a result. Brown got a decent return on the punt for 18 yards to the 41.
The Steelers’ drive began with a defensive offside penalty. Bell picked up about 10 yards off the right side on the ground. A three-yard run was negated by a hold by Finney. Bell picked up that yardage and more, however, with a 33-yard run, his second explosive run of the game, and third of the year. He checked out for Toussaint for one play, who picked up six. On second and four, Bell actually lost a yard. Starting the fourth quarter on third and five, Roethlisberger looked into the end zone for Ladarius Green but the safety made the read and got his hands on the ball to break it up. But the Bills were penalized for a neutral zone infraction on fourth and five on a field goal attempt, resulting instead in a first down.
Finney with another pull led Bell around the edge, spun down by a defender after a gain of four. On second and six, however, he was contained for a gain of a yard or so. On third and five, Roethlisberger was robbed in the end zone on a pass intended for James, with the linebacker Zach Brown dropping into coverage and picking off the pass. It was Roethlisberger’s third interception of the game.
But Taylor gave it right back, throwing a pass that was intercepted by rookie Artie Burns, his third of the season. Davis was flagged for a hold on Burns’ return a week after Burns was flagged for a hold on Davis’ return a week ago.
Taking over from the Bills’ 46, Bell picked up five yards. Adding 14 yards and then five, Bell finds himself with a new career-high with 224 rushing yards. Adding nine more yards on three carries, the Steelers faced a fourth and one. Chris Boswell trotted back out again for his first field goal of the game to make it 24-7 with 10 minutes to play.
A short five-yard pass from the 25 preceded a tackle for loss on that took about seven different players to eventually get him down. Dupree had the first attempt, and the last. But on third down, Taylor beat the blitz by finding McCoy, who made Shazier miss and found open space for a big gain of 41 yards. With Dupree lurking behind him, Taylor threw the ball away on the following play. Off play action, Taylor got the pass off to Clay, with Burns missing the interception. Clay caught the ball and the tight end avoided tackles from Davis and Gay for the long touchdown. This game is not quite over yet. The extra point attempt did hit the uprights to make it 24-13.
Bell got tripped up in the backfield on first down for a loss of about half a yard. Roethlisberger threw to Antonio Brown for 29, mostly yards after the catch. Bell took a pitch left for three. He punched again again for six to set up third and one. The Steelers used another timeout ahead of the play. On third and one, Roethlisberger checked down to Bell for a sizable gain. He lowered the boom on the safety trying to tackle him.
Another two yards on the ground gave Bell 298 yards in total for the game. After being stopped for no gain, setting up third and eight, Bell was stopped again for no gain, leaving him tantalizingly close to the 300-yard mark. Boswell made the field goal to give Pittsburgh a 27-13 lead.
From the 25, Taylor escaped a blitz from Davis to throw the ball away. Gay and then Davis came in on a blitz, and Davis rocked him on the throw down the field. The play was ruled an incompletion, but Watkins did drag his feet. The Bills challenged and won.
Taylor found Woods down the field for another bit reception, with Robert Golden tackling him. Shazier was able to chase him down on a scramble on the next play after a short gain. A 12-yard completion to the tight end brought the game to the two-minute warning.
McCoy was flushed out of bounds after a checked screen for a loss of one. On second down, beating a blitz up the middle, the Bills got a first and goal with a pass over the middle, and McCoy walked in for the score on the following play to pull within 27-20.
The Bills’ kicker shanked the onside kick, not even traveling five yards before traveling out of bounds. That ended the game, as the Bills didn’t have the resources to stop the clock enough with under 90 seconds remaining.