They often say a 14-point spread is too much to give an opposing team in an NFL game.
These are all professionals—the elites of the elite of the football world.
After suffering through 60 minutes of what the Bills had to offer on a Sunday afternoon at Highmark Stadium, however, I think we can all agree that the oddsmakers were a little off when they installed Pittsburgh as a two-touchdown underdog—21 points off, to be exact.
The Steelers may have gone into Sunday’s game a 14-point underdog—the most the team had been “favored” to lose by since the merger in 1970—but they left with a 38-3 defeat—or the most Pittsburgh had actually lost by since 1989.
Admit it, you were feeling pretty good when Bills’ return specialist Taiwan Jones muffed the opening kickoff and was tackled at his own two-yard line.
That feeling changed just a few minutes later when, on third and 10 and with his back at his own goal line, Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen connected on a perfectly thrown deep ball to receiver Gabe Davis, who had successfully split a double team before corralling the pass and racing 98 yards for the score and a quick 7-0 lead.
I won’t get into a play-by-play rundown of Sunday’s game. You’ve likely read that kind of thing a million times by now, but it sure did feel like the Bills had a million guys out there on offense, didn’t it?
It seemed like Allen, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 424 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, had a thousand targets to throw to, while also being protected by a thousand offensive linemen—he was hit just once and sacked zero times by a Steelers defense that simply cannot rush the passer without T.J. Watt.
It sure didn’t seem like the Bills were going to punt the football away as long as Allen was in at quarterback, which they didn’t until backup Case Keenum came in late for mop-up duty.
As weird as this might sound, Sunday’s game wasn’t nearly as lopsided as it could have been had Allen not thrown an interception in the end zone in the first half and tight end Quintin Morris not fumbled near the goal line in the second half.
The Bills are currently the measuring stick in the NFL, and if their number-one-ranked defense didn’t convince you of their completeness before the game, their ability to repeatedly shut down Kenny Pickett and the Steelers' offense anytime it looked like they would reach paydirt should have.
Yes, Pickett showed moxie and courage on Sunday. He certainly deserved better than what his receivers and even the officials gave him. He showed heart by trying to fight Shaq Lawson after a low hit late in the game.
And in completing 34 of 52 passes for 327 yards and an interception, Pickett showed a lot of folks that maybe he can be the future straw that stirs the drink for the Steelers.
But as I’ve said repeatedly this season, the Steelers have many problems besides who is starting for them at quarterback.
Their biggest problem right now is being light-years away from where the Bills currently stand in the NFL’s hierarchy.
The Bills have never won a Super Bowl and, after losing in the divisional round to the Chiefs in the most heartbreaking way imaginable last January, appear to be on an intentional journey to finally end that drought.
The Steelers were merely a small and slightly inconvenient bump in the road on Sunday.