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Instant Analysis: Starters shine, defense dominates in Steelers Week 2 preseason win over Bills

The Steelers’ starters put on another show, and the defense made big plays all night.

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Steelers looked like a team out to prove a point Saturday evening in their 27-15 win over the Buffalo Bills, and the message was loud and clear- they are coming.

The starting offense was dominant

Kenny Pickett began by continuing to show off his improvement. He hit George Pickens on a hitch that went for first down yards. The second-year quarterback then showed his ability to make plays while on the move. He looked for Allen Robinson on a well-thrown ball that was knocked down by Bills’ cornerback Dane Jackson, but he came right back to Robinson on the next play after stepping up in the pocket and sniping it to the veteran from Penn State.

The drive was capped off by Jaylen Warren outracing everyone on the Bills’ defense for a 62 yard touchdown run, and we really need to start the discussion about Warren being the best running back on the team.

The second drive, set up by a Calvin Austin 54 yard punt return, was a one-and-done, as Pickett hit Pat Freiermuth for a 25 yard touchdown to make the game 14-0.

The offense has looked better than the highest expectations. They led a 10 play, 83 yard drive that ended in a George Pickens touchdown last week, and they looked deadly against the Bills. This looks like an offense that can lead this team to an AFC North title.

How about those special teams?

Danny Smith had to have been happy about the performance of the Steelers’ special teams. Calvin Austin had the aforementioned punt return that set up the Freiermuth touchdown, and Miles Killebrew partially blocked a punt early in the first half, as well.

Austin looks like he’ll be the staring kick and punt returner. His speed is game-changing, and we got a glimpse of that.

This defense is going to be special

Yes, take a quick breath- it is preseason. However, the plays this team made against the starters of a powerhouse team is something to be excited about.

The Steelers got consistent pressure on Josh Allen. Alex Highsmith played like a mutant, specifically forcing pressure on Allen, which forced the quarterback to run around before Highsmith caught him for the sack. Markus Golden made his presence known off the edge and in the trenches, getting in on a few run stops.

The man who keeps making plays, though, is Nick Herbig. The rookie continued to put up some nice tape by throwing a 320 pound Dion Dawkins out of his way to get a pressure on Allen, and had a strip sack in the third quarter that was recovered by Tanner Muse. In addition, he just kept getting into the backfield. he had a tackle for loss in the run game in the third quarter, and showcased his terrific bend coming off the edge- this guy is going to be really good.

The Steelers secondary made a huge statement, as well, by intercepting three passes. The Steelers’ defensive backs intercepted three passes, showing the depth of the unit as a whole. Elijah Riley intercepted a Matt Barkley pass off a deflection from Cole Holcomb in the end zone to kill a scoring chance for the Bills. Chandon Sullivan made a great play screaming off the edge where he batted a ball in the air to himself for an interception.

The play of the night for the defense, though, was Joey Porter Jr. getting an interception in his debut at Acrisure stadium and giving the ball to Joey Porter Sr. in the stands.

This Steelers team looked like they had all the infinity stones against the Bills. Whether you are ready or not, the Steelers are coming, so get on board or get out of their way.