Postgame Takes

4 in a row gets Steelers to 8-5

STEELERS 27, BILLS 20Steelers' record:
8-5One year ago:
Series record (including playoffs):Steelers lead, 16-9. Between 1980-92, the Steelers and Bills played seven times, with Buffalo going 6-1 in those games, including a victory in a 1992 Divisional Round Game in Three Rivers Stadium. The Steelers now have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between these teams.


Dealing with Buffalo's rushing attack was going to be Job 1 for the Steelers in the game, what with the challenge to be posed by LeSean McCoy, Tyrod Taylor, and Mike Gillislee. The Bills came into the game ranked No. 1 in the NFL with 161.9 yards rushing per game, and No. 1 in the NFL with 5.4 yards per carry. McCoy entered with 949 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, and his 5.5 average was better than anybody else who's in the top 20. And two guys who weren't in the top 20 but had better averages than McCoy were Taylor (6.4) and Gillislee (5.9). Taylor is the Buffalo quarterback, and Gillislee is its third-down back, and together they had added a dozen more rushing touchdowns to McCoy's nine.


Le'Veon Bell rushed for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills as he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the 2016 season.

The Steelers defense never allowed Buffalo's running attack to take control of the game. McCoy finished with 27 yards on 12 carries (2.3 average), and Taylor was even less of a factor, with 2 yards on three carries (0.7 average). Forced to operate more conventionally, the Bills offense rolled up a bunch of cosmetic yards and scored two touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the game a lot closer on the scoreboard than it seemed to be on the field.

One of those touchdowns came on a 40-yard pass to tight end Charles Clay in which three Steelers defensive backs mis-played the situation, and the other came in the final 85 seconds.


This is the sequence that made the game closer than it needed to be: The Steelers held a 21-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, and the Bills were having no success in stopping – or even slowing – Le'Veon Bell and the running attack. The Steelers had moved the ball from their own 40-yard line to a first down at the Bills 12-yard line, and six of the seven plays had been runs. Bell gained 4 yards on first down, and then 1 yard on second down to set up a third-and-5 from the Buffalo 7-yard line. Attempting to get the ball to tight end Jesse James in the end zone, Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted by Buffalo linebacker Zach Brown.

The win was Mike Tomlin's 100th as the Steelers' coach, and he accomplished that in fewer than 10 full seasons.

>>> READ: Another Steelers' coach hits 100 wins
The win was the fourth in a row for the Steelers, and it also marked the fourth consecutive solid outing by the team's defense. Against the Bills, the Steelers were credited with seven tackles for loss, which are to be credited only on running plays; the unit had eight hits on the quarterback in addition to the five sacks; it had one interception (by Artie Burns) as well as another four passes defensed.

Rosie Nix had a fine game as a fullback leading the way for Bell, but he also contributed two tackles on special teams.

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