The Pittsburgh Steelers had been the lone undefeated team heading into Week 13, but the Washington Football Team put an end to any dreams of a perfect season. The road for the Steelers, who were playing their third game in 12 days, didn’t get any easier as they traveled to Buffalo to play the red-hot Bills on Sunday Night Football.
After losing the opening coin toss, the Bills elected to defer their possession to the start of the second half, and Ben Roethlisberger and company would take the football to start the game. After Ray-Ray McCloud made a questionable decision to take the football out of the end zone on the kickoff, the Steelers’ drive lasted just three plays before punting the ball to Buffalo.
Josh Allen and the Bill’s opening offensive drive didn’t last any longer than Pittsburgh’s, and Roethlisberger and the offense were back on the field before you knew it. After a first down reception, Diontae Johnson continue to rack up the drops. Not even midway through the first quarter, Johnson already had two, the latter resulted in another Jordan Berry punt.
After Allen hit Cole Beasley for the Bills’ first down, it was the Steelers’ pass rush which started to impact the game. After T.J. Watt go a nice pass defense on first down, it was Cam Heyward who hit Allen’s arm as he threw and Mike Hilton came down with the interception.
GIMME THAT @MikeHilton_28 | Watch #PITvsBUF: https://t.co/fkKSw1378x pic.twitter.com/te02bWR2Xy— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 14, 2020
After the Steelers failed to even turn the interception into a first down, the Bill’s offense continued to struggle and matched the Steelers’ offensive ineptitude with their own three and out.
The offensive struggles continued for both teams into the second quarter, exchanging punts along the way, but it was the Steelers’ defense who made the next play. On a tipped ball, Cam Sutton came down with the Steelers’ second interception of the game, giving the offense the ball at the Buffalo 30 yard line.
On the third play of the drive, Ben Roethlisberger wasted little time throwing a dart to James Washington for the first touchdown of the game.
That would have been Diontae Johnson pic.twitter.com/xPWO4D3Kq3— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 14, 2020
Chris Boswell hit the extra point to make the score 7-0.
Desperately needing an injection of offense, Josh Allen turned to his best offensive target to deliver. Stephon Diggs single-handedly got the Bills into Pittsburgh territory, and a questionable roughing the passer call on Henry Mondeaux put the Bills in the red-zone for the first time in the game.
Coming out of the 2-minute warning, Allen threw incomplete three straight times, and it resulted in a Tyler Bass 34-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 1:42 left in the first half.
Having all of their timeouts remaining, Roethlisberger quickly got the ball into Buffalo territory, but on 3rd and 5 Roethlisberger’s pass intended for JuJu Smith-Schuster was intercepted and returned for the touchdown. Bass’s extra point was no good, making the score 9-7 with 52 seconds left in the opening half.
After halftime, the Buffalo offense came out with their best drive of the game. Allen was able to consistently evade the Pittsburgh pressure, and he continued to hit his favorite target, Stephon Diggs.
When the field got short, and the Bills entered the red-zone, it was the Allen to Diggs connection again which put the Bills’ first offensive touchdown on the board. The Bass extra point was good, making the score 16-7 with 10:23 left in the third quarter.
Ben Roethlisberger’s first drive of the second half ended quickly, and Allen and Diggs continued to be too much for the Pittsburgh defense. Diggs single-handedly got the ball into the red-zone, again, and Allen found Gabriel Davis for another Bills’ touchdown. The Bass extra point made the score 23-7 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.
Heading into the fourth quarter, and behind a patchwork offensive line, Ben Roethlisberger and company put together their first true drive of the game. Roethlisberger connected with Eric Ebron and Diontae Johnson with huge third down conversions, but when the field got short is when Roethlisberger went to his favorite target. In the red-zone it was JuJu Smith-Schuster who caught his first touchdown of the game.
.@_BigBen7 ➡️ @TeamJuJu— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 14, 2020
Two-point conversion is good!
Watch #PITvsBUF: https://t.co/fkKSw1378x | #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/NXC3nyI0zw
Instead of calling on Chris Boswell, the Steelers went for two, and the pass for Ebron was completed, making the score 23-15 with 12:15 left in regulation.
Buffalo answered the score with a drive of their own. This time, it was Allen finding a variety of receivers, and a defensive pass interference call on Mike Hilton, which moved the Bills into a first and goal situation. The Steelers’ defense held their ground, and Buffalo tacked on a field goal to make the score 26-15 with 8:06 left in regulation.
When Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense faced a 3rd and 5, Roethlisberger took a shot deep to James Washington, but was intercepted for the second time of the game. The takeaway all but iced the game, but the Bills had to go through the motions to essentially put the game away.
Allen and company drove down the field, taking up valuable time, and putting themselves in position to kick a field goal to put the game out of reach. They wouldn’t have to, and the final score would read 26-15.
The Steelers’ loss was their second straight loss, and resulted in Pittsburgh falling out of the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoff Picture. They will now have an extra day off as they play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15 on Monday Night Football. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Bengals.