clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bills vs. Steelers: Doug Marrone isn't assuming Steelers defense will routinely give up 55 points

First-year Bills head coach Doug Marrone isn't letting on that he feels Pittsburgh's defense is in the habit of allowing 610 total yards and 55 points, like the Steelers did in a loss last week to New England.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Bills head coach Doug Marrone isn't letting a small thing like 55 points and 610 yards allowed trick him into thinking the Steelers don't have any pride.

Buffalo is preparing to take on a Steelers team currently navigating through uncharted waters. They've never played a game following one in which they surrendered 55 points.

"Well I think the first thing that comes to my mind and how much respect I have for Mike Tomlin is that they are going to come back and they are going to get after it," Marrone said at his press conference. "There is a lot of pride in for that defense in Pittsburgh. They are going to come back and they are going to be ready to go. We will get their best game."

Buffalo's offense runs the ball at a high level - something many of the Steelers' opponents have been able to do against them this year. Running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have rushed for 980 yards, and they are averaging 145 rushing yards a game, seventh-best in the NFL.

That doesn't inspire Marrone with enough confidence to gush publicly. Facing a Steelers defense that, under coordinator Dick LeBeau, has won 16 of its last 18 games against a rookie starting quarterback, Marrone is well-aware of the challenges Pittsburgh will create, especially considering he's likely to start rookie QB E.J. Manuel.

"I always thought that (LeBeau) did the best job in breaking down peoples protections," Marrone said.

A key element to this game for LeBeau is going to be figuring out how to get through Buffalo's mammoth left tackle Cordy Glenn. Already among the better left tackles in the game, Glenn is a tough assignment for either Jason Worilds or Jarvis Jones - Glenn's University of Georgia teammate in 2011.

The rest of the line, however, may be ripe for the plucking. As a team, the Bills have given up 28 sacks this year - sixth-lowest in the NFL. Pittsburgh's 32 are the third-lowest mark in the league.

Pride won't do it alone, but if Pittsburgh is able to slow down Buffalo's running game, they may be able to put Manuel on the ground often enough to control the game defensively.

More from Behind the Steel Curtain: