The Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills locked horns Saturday in the 3rd week of the NFL preseason, and to say there were some early fireworks might be an understatement. In a game which was missing some key players on both sides of the football for both respective teams, it didn't take long for the scoring to take place.
After a Dri Archer return to the team's 15 yard line, the Steelers were able to put together a drive who resulted in -4 yards and was capped off by a sack on Ben Roethlisberger to end the opening drive for the Steelers' starting offense. Not to be outdone, after a Brad Wing punt, the Bills' Fred Jackson scampered for a 45-yard run down to the Steelers' 5-yard line. Two plays later Jackson would cap off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The extra point would give the Bills a 7-0 lead.
When the Steelers got the ball back, they were able to put together a drive which resembled what fans are used to seeing out of their high powered offense. The lengthy drive was set up by a nice 20-yard catch by Markus Wheaton, which resulted in a one-yard DeAngelo Williams touchdown. Another Williams run resulted in a two-point conversion and the Steelers took the lead 8-7.
The Steelers defense continued to struggle as a pass by EJ Manuel to Charles Clay resulted in the Bills' second touchdown of the first quarter. The Bills failed two-point conversion would result in the Bills regaining the lead 13-8. Michael Vick would take over at quarterback on the ensuing drive, and would drive the team down the field and eventually lead to a Garrett Hartley field goal. The 13-11 score would be the score heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, a penalty riddled drive would get the Steelers into field goal range, but after an injury to kicker Garrett Hartley, the team would go for it on 4th down and fail to convert. Later in the quarter, Landry Jones would take over at quarterback and following a Dan Carpenter missed field goal, would hit Martavis Bryant for a touchdown. A Sammie Coates reception would give the Steelers the two-point conversion and a 19-13 lead.
Tyrod Taylor would take over for Matt Cassel to end the half, and would go 6-7 in the 11-play 80-yard drive which would result in a Bill's touchdown run. The extra point would lead to a 20-19 Bills, and they weren't done there. After a Steelers' three-and-out, the Bills would move the ball into filed goal range for a 52-yard Carpenter field goal to make the score 23-19 Bills heading into the break.
The second half would start like the first as the Steelers' defense saw the Bills offense, lead by Tyrod Taylor, drive down the field and score a quick touchdown to make the score 29-19. After Carpenter missed the extra point the score would remain 29-19 before the Steelers' offense even touched the football in the second half.
A quick Steelers 3-and-out and it did't take the Bills long to strike again. EJ Manuel re-entered the game and it only took three plays before scoring another touchdown on the Steelers' second string to take a 36-19 lead mid-way through the third quarter.
The 36-19 score would hold into the fourth quarter, but it would be the fourth quarter which saw the Bills' fourth string QB Matt Simms orchestrate another drive which resulted in a Bills touchdown. The score, with a point after touchdown, extended the Bill's lead to 43-19. The score would stand as the Steelers drop to 1-3 on the preseason, but the questions about the defense, and depth across the board certainly are worrisome.
The Steelers play the Carolina Panthers in the final preseason game Thursday at Heinz Field.