WHAT WENT RIGHT
* Jonathan Dwyer is emerging as the team’s short-yardage back. The first quarter ended with the Bills holding a 3-0 lead and the Steelers facing a third-and-1 at their own 33-yard line. Jonathan Dwyer came on to convert that with a 6-yard run, and on the next third down, it also was a third-and-1 that Dwyer converted with a 2-yard run.
* The Steelers have dabbled with the wildcat formation at different times this season. Against the Bills, they used it twice in the game’s opening 20 minutes. The first time, the ball was snapped directly to Le’Veon Bell, who ran up the middle. On the second time, Bell took the snap and pitched the ball to Emmanuel Sanders, who was circling around behind the play. Sanders took the ball all the way around the left side of the offense, got past Mario Williams and turned it up for a 25-yard gain to the Buffalo 25-yard line.
* It was a second-and-8 for the Steelers at their own 16-yard line in a 3-3 game late in the second quarter. Under pressure, Ben Roethlisberger spotted Le’Veon Bell and shoveled the ball forward. Bell found an opening in the Buffalo defense and raced 25 yards to a first down at midfield.
* The only touchdown in the first half came on a 5-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery, who set a career high with three touchdown catches last week vs. New England. On the play, Cotchery made Bills CB Stephon Gilmore think it was going to be a quick throw before breaking for the back corner of the end zone and catching a nice throw from Roethlisberger.
* With the Steelers lined up to attempt a field goal on a fourth-and-3 at the Bills 11-yard line, some sort of hard count drew three Bills into the neutral zone for the encroachment penalty that was good for a first down to extend the possession.
* Antonio Brown handled the heavy lifting early on the drive that ended with Le’Veon Bell’s touchdown run that gave the Steelers a 17-3 lead with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter. Brown returned Brian Moorman’s punt 24 yards, and then on the first play of the drive he caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger and turned it into a 40-yard gain. On the touchdown, Mike Adams drove LB Nigel Bradham into the end zone and then planted him on his back.
* In retrospect, an element of the Steelers’ offensive performance that turned out to be a significant contributing factor in the outcome was third-down efficiency. The Steelers came into the game having converted 37.4 percent on third downs, which ranked them 19th in the NFL. Against the Bills, the Steelers were 8-for-17 (47 percent).
* Here is a simple statistic to gauge whether the Steelers have won or lost a game. Check the opponent’s rushing total. If it’s less than 100 yards, the Steelers are 3-0 this season. If it’s more than 100 yards, they’re 0-6. Buffalo finished with 95.
WHAT WENT WRONG
* The Steelers came into the game with 17 turnovers, and the 18th came on their first possession, the opening possession of the game. On a second-and-long, the Steelers used a formation including four wide receivers, with Markus Wheaton split out alone to the right side. Ben Roethlisberger attempted to get the ball to Wheaton down the field, but free safety Jairus Byrd came over to intercept the pass, and his 57-yard return brought the ball to the Pittsburgh 29-yard line. The Bills ultimately converted the takeaway into a field goal for a 3-0 lead.
* The Steelers second offensive possession ended with Mat McBriar in punt formation at Heinz Field for the first time since being added to the team to replace Zoltan Mesko. McBriar’s punt, into the wind, traveled only 27 yards to set up the Buffalo offense at the Pittsburgh 44-yard line.
* On the second half kickoff, Bills WR Marquise Goodwin fielded the ball 5 yards deep into the end zone and elected to run it out. Robert Golden made the tackle at the Buffalo 13-yard line , but a 15-yard penalty on Jarvis Jones for unnecessary roughness allowed the Bills to start at their 28-yard line.
* On the kickoff following his 37-yard field goal that upped the Steelers’ lead to 20-3, Shaun Suisham’s line drive bounced out of bounds to give Buffalo possession at the 40-yard line.