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Prisuta's Further Review vs. Buffalo

Posted Aug 18, 2014

Mike Prisuta takes another look at the Steelers' preseason win over the Buffalo Bills

OPENING ACT: Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier played well enough in his Heinz Field debut to earn rave reviews, but it wasn’t quite a virtuoso performance.

The Steelers’ No. 1 pick made nine solo tackles and two more on special teams and also had an interception in the first half of Saturday night’s 19-16 preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Shazier had four tackles and his interception, which he returned 27 yards to the Buffalo 37-yard line, before the game was 10 minutes old. But there were also a couple of plays he didn’t make.

Shazier got tight end Scott Chandler on the ground after a catch, but not before Chandler had pushed through far enough to move the chains on a third-and-7 from the Bills’ 29.

And Shazier was left in Chandler’s wake on what became a catch-and-run, 24-yard gain on third-and-27 from the Bills’ 41-yard line, a chunk play that set up a 53-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter.

“I ran over the top,” Shazier explained. “I have to be underneath him. I was standing up. I have to be lower, break down and make the tackle. I over-ran the guy, just poor technique.”

That aside, Shazier emerged appreciative of the experience.

“It was great,” Shazier said. “I thought I was going to get a touchdown (on his interception return). I’ll have to get it next time I touch the ball.”
 
NO-HUDDLE, NO PROBLEM: Ben Roethlisberger ran the no-huddle offense almost exclusively in his quarter-plus of action and emerged encouraged.

“The communication was what I wanted to work on,” Roethlisberger said, “and we didn’t have mental errors, of what I saw. It was a good start to the no-huddle.”

Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who hooked up on a 76-yard, catch-and-run touchdown with Roethlisberger, agreed.

“We were able to move down the field with it with no mental errors,” Brown said. “Ben had to be fluent in regards to knowing our assignments and playing fast.”

TROY SIGHTING: Troy Polamalu didn’t play in the preseason opener against the Giants and didn’t participate in tackling drills at Saint Vincent College. So it was significant to see No. 43 flying around the field again against Buffalo.

“It was nice to get my first live action, for sure,” Polamalu said. “We’re very grateful for the victory, of course. But there were a lot of mistakes made which, if we want to be the dominant defense we aspire to be we shouldn’t make those mistakes.”

REPEAT PERFORMANCES: Rookie running back Dri Archer did it again when he turned a screen into a 40-yard gain in the third quarter. Archer had darted 46 yards with a screen in the preseason opener against the New York Football Giants.

And rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant drew another penalty, the third time in two preseason games flags have been thrown after Bryant has been targeted with a pass.

But the top reprise of the night was linebacker Victor So’oto’s second forced fumble in as many preseason games and linebacker Howard Jones’ third fumble recovery of the preseason.

Jones rumbled 28 yards for a touchdown with a fumble forced by So’oto in the Giants game. This time Jones scooped and scooted 19 yards to the Buffalo 1-yard line after So’oto’s sack/strip on Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel, the play that set up Shaun Suisham’s last-play, game-winning, 20-yard field goal.


RIGHT TO WORK: Newcomer Luke Ingram, who was signed last week and joined Thursday’s practice at St. Vincent College after it had already begun, handled all the long-snapping chores in the first half. Ingram snapped on one punt and two extra points, one of which Suisham missed, and also handled a third-quarter punt.

Tight end/long snapper Bryce Davis snapped for four punts and two field goals in the second half. Davis also played tight end in the second half.

PLAYING TO WIN: The Steelers had lost five consecutive preseason games since their last triumph under such circumstances, a 26-24 victory over Indianapolis in August 2012.

So while the result against Buffalo may not have counted, it mattered.

“It’s nice to get the ‘W,’ the first ‘W’ in a long time in the preseason,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “It’s something we can grow on.”

Added cornerback Ike Taylor, “I’m glad we won. We needed that win. You don’t go through training camp and play to lose. You work to win, so I’m glad we got that win.”

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