PHOTOS: Bills Week Practice
PITTSBURGH STEELERS VS. BUFFALO BILLS
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013
Heinz Field; 1 p.m.; CBS
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB FRED JACKSON
He was busy and productive through the Bills’ first nine games, during which he amassed 502 yards on the ground and 245 more on receptions for a total of 747 yards from scrimmage (fourth in the AFC, 11th in the NFL). Jackson’s 45 first downs (35 rushing, 10 receiving) ranked second in the AFC and fifth in the NFL. His six rushing touchdowns tied for second in the AFC and tied for fifth in the NFL. Jackson had 16 carries for 77 yards and one catch for 22 yards in last Sunday’s 23-13 loss to Kansas City.
DE MARIO WILLIAMS
His team-leading 11 sacks tied for the most in Bills’ history through nine games (with Bryce Paup in 1995 and Bruce Smith in 1997). Williams trailed only Robert Mathis of Indianapolis (11.5) for the NFL lead in sacks (Justin Houston of Kansas City also had 11) and ranked fourth in the league with 74.5 sacks since entering the NFL in 2006. Williams had a career-high and franchise-record 4.5 sacks on Sept. 15 against Carolina, with 3.5 of those coming on third downs. Since joining the Bills in 2012 Williams has collected 11.5 of his 21.5 sacks on third downs, second only to Cameron Wake of Miami (12.5) in that span (Von Miller of Denver also has 11.5).
Buffalo went 2-2 through the first four weeks with rookie E.J. Manuel starting at quarterback. He started but didn’t finish what became a 37-24 loss on Oct. 3 at Cleveland because of a knee injury, and the Bills have gone 1-3 in his absence. Three of the Bills’ six losses have come by a combined 12 points (23-21 to New England, 27-20 to the Jets and 27-24 in overtime to Cincinnati). Buffalo rushed for 241 yards and finished with 470 total net yards but surrendered a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown and an 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown in last Sunday’s 23-13 loss to undefeated Kansas City.
THE BILLS’ OFFENSE
Buffalo is No. 15 in total offense (seventh rushing, 28th passing). Manuel completed 56.7 percent of his passes with five touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 79.4 in his first five starts. He became the first rookie QB in NFL history to start and lead his team to a win over the defending Super Bowl champions when the Bills beat the Ravens, 23-20, on Sept. 29. Buffalo was tied for third in the NFL with 34 rushing plays of 10 or more yards through nine games. Jackson (502) and fellow RB C.J. Spiller (478) are the first Bills duo to each reach 450 yards rushing through nine games.
THE BILLS’ DEFENSE
Buffalo is No. 20 in total defense (17th rushing, 18th passing). The Bills led the NFL in negative opponent plays through nine games (68 for 278 yards in losses). Buffalo was tied for third in the NFL with 12 interceptions (behind Denver and Seattle, 13) and tied for third with 29 sacks (Kansas City 36, Cleveland 31). The Bills are the only team in the league with three defenders with at least three interceptions (rookie LB Kiko Alonso has four, S Jim Leonhard has three and S Aaron Williams has three). Buffalo is also the only NFL team with four defenders with at least four sacks (Williams has 11, DT Marcell Dareus has four, DE Jerry Hughes has four and DT Kyle Williams has four).
THE BILLS’ SPECIAL TEAMS
Since rejoining the team four games ago, P Brian Moorman has punted 18 times for a net average of 41.2 yards per punt with four inside-the-20 efforts. The Bills allowed a Cleveland-record 179 punt return yards to Browns WR Travis Benjamin, including a 79-yard touchdown, on Oct. 3. The Bills were tied with the Steelers for second in the league in opponents’ drives beginning inside the 20 following kickoffs (12, behind the 49ers’ 13).