The Pittsburgh Steelers had the ball on 13 different possessions over the course of the game. Nine of those possessions came in the first half. Nine of their 13 total possessions spanned under two minutes, and they only had two possessions throughout the entire game that lasted at least three minutes.
Their longest drive of the night came at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, spanning more than four and a half minutes. They marched 78 yards down the field—actually 81, as they got three yards via penalty—over the course of 10 plays to get the ball into the end zone, Ben Roethlisberger finding JuJu Smith-Schuster for a touchdown.
That was the only time throughout the game that the offense looked fully in sync. Even their other four-minute drive wasn’t very notable except for being somewhat long. They ran eight plays, but only picked up 32 yards, barely even breaking midfield before punting.
“There was really not enough playmaking for us tonight, and it’s really as simple as that”, head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game, noting that “we weren’t able to keep pace” with the Buffalo Bills as they got their offense cooking in the second half.
Neither offense did well in the first half. The Steelers got into the end zone, but only after being set up at the Bills’ 30 due to a takeaway defensively. Buffalo barely managed a field goal by halftime before securing a late pick six.
While the Bills offense came alive in the second half, however, Pittsburgh did not reciprocate, outside of one drive. In fact, they only had the ball four times in the second half, and three of those possessions were three and outs, with the final third-down play being an interception.
In all, Pittsburgh had just one single possession throughout the entire game in which the offense moved the ball at least 35 yards. They only gained at least 30 yards on four of their 13 possessions. They failed to pick up a first down on seven drives, including five of their last seven.
That is an astounding level of futility against a defense that, while talented, is not necessarily elite, and certainly is one that the Steelers should be able to move the ball against. But they are clearly having major issues right now, and it’s less clear whether or not there are attainable answers.