Written by Bobby Greco
The Buffalo Bills had another huge primetime opportunity Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and well, what the heck I’m going to say it… The BUFFALO BILLS ARE BACK! And in my best Macho Man Randy Savage voice, “OOOH YEAH” it feels great. I feel like a broken record the past few weeks because once again I think Buffalo played their best and most complete game. I will be the first to say it, I was nervous going into this game. Pittsburgh was 11-1 and coming off their first loss of the season, it’s also the best Steelers team they have had recently. It just seemed like Buffalo was being backed in a corner by outside factors and it was going to be tough to fight their way out. Buffalo was up to the challenge and they put on a show for the rest of the league to see. I thought Pittsburgh had two position groups that could give the Bills problems, their defensive line, and wide receivers, and was pleasantly surprised how Buffalo handled both groups.
I can’t talk about the Bills offensive without first talking about the offensive line, I could not be more impressed with their performance. Of course, I am always partial to the O-Line, but still, they need some love here. I personally think Pittsburgh has the best defensive line in the league, they are the one team I feel does not have a weakness across the whole line. They also have the favorite for Defensive POY in T.J. Watt and Buffalo wasn’t phased. Of course, Bud Dupree being injured, definitely makes things easier for the opposing O-Line. They played Buffalo Bills football and didn’t care who they were against. Daryl Williams had a phenomenal performance, as he had Watt for most of the game and didn’t give up one sack. This was also a big test for Josh Allen because the Steelers were seen as the alpha dogs and Josh had to prove the Bills were the team to beat. He did just that. After a first half of seeing the defense's battle, Allen settled down and took what the defense gave him, which really opened up the game. Cris Collinsworth said it perfectly when saying, this was the game you could see just how much Allen has matured. He just accepted the fact that he was going to get hit every play and he sat in the pocket, delivering absolute strikes to the receivers. Speaking of the WRs, I am so happy with the Stephon Diggs trade and everything he has brought to the team. He dominated the Pittsburgh secondary and showed everyone just how dangerous he is. Cole Beasley was solid as usual and Gabe Davis continues to grow as a pro receiver, catching a TD in his third consecutive game. I still wish the run game would improve, but I think both Singletary and Moss have proven they can get the job done when called upon.
On defense, the Bills were on a mission. I’m sure all they heard the entire week was how good the Steelers receiving corp is and I think they took it as a challenge. From start to finish, Buffalo really shutdown the Pittsburgh passing attack. If it wasn’t for one drive near the end of the game and the Dawson Knox fumble short-field score, Pittsburgh’s offense didn’t cross midfield. This was even extremely surprising to me because Buffalo was finally finding themselves on defense and the Steelers offense had been red hot. This week was also the first time in weeks that everyone was healthy and a full go in playing time, so I think the defense played with more confidence. Having our full secondary was huge because it gave Buffalo their full complement of defensive backs and a viable NFL player to cover all the Pitt WRs. Taron Johnson turned the game around with his pick-six and it kept building from there. I do have to give a lot of credit to Big Ben, he proved again how tough he is and only was sacked once. Even though he was pressured a lot, he was able to make plays with defenders hanging off of him. I know I have said this for a couple of weeks now, but I truly feel the Bills have found themselves on defense and that is going to make them a real title contender come playoffs.
Buffalo has a Saturday game against the Broncos next, so they will be favored for sure. This will be a test of mental fortitude because it is a game the Bills should win. However, it’s also a prototypical trap game, because the Bills are coming off two huge primetime performances and now have to stay focused on a team that isn’t competing for the playoffs. Thankfully for Buffalo, I truly believe they have the right leadership to prevent a stumble.