The Steelers were unable to fight back from a late deficit, falling to the Buffalo Bills 17-10 at Heinz Field. The loss drops the Steelers record to 8-6 on the season.
The defense held after the interception, giving the offense one last chance. The offense wasn't able to capitalize, though. Another interception in the end zone gave the Bills the win.
The Steelers had a shot late to take the lead and the offense got going when Devlin Hodges hit Diontae Johnson for 10 yards. He connected with Nick Vannett for seven yards. Faced with a key third down, with 3:10 to play in the game, Hodges and James Washington hooked up for a huge 32-yard completion to the Bills' 26-yard line. A false start, an incomplete pass and a sack gave the Steelers an unenviable third-and-20 at the 36-yard line. Vannett was able to get some of the yardage back on a 13-yard reception with 2:00 to play in the game. On fourth-and-seven, Hodges pass was intercepted in the end zone.
The Steelers went three-and-out on three incompletions on the possession after the Bills tied the game, putting the onus on their defense to hold them off. And they did just that. The Steelers defense returned the favor, forcing a three-and-out and giving the offense an opportunity with 5:13 to play in the game.
The Bills broke a 10-10 tie on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Allen to tight end Tyler Kroft with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter. Kicker Stephen Hauschka's extra point gave Buffalo a 17-10 lead.
The big play on the six-play, 70-yard drive in 2:08 was a 40-yard completion from Allen to wide receiver John Brown on the first play of the march. Brown subsequently recovered a fumble by running back Devin Singletary at the Steelers' 14-yard line.
The tackle of the game through the first three quarters may have been made by Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler.
Feiler chased down Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White at the end of an interception and 49-yard return and forced him out of bounds at the Steelers' 18 with 1:24 left in the third quarter. Buffalo's subsequent possession netted zero yards on seven plays, including three consecutive runs that lost yardage after the Bills had achieved a first-and-goal at the Steelers' 8. Buffalo ultimately settled for a 36-yard field goal by Hauschka and a 10-10 tie with 12:23 left in the fourth.
The Steelers achieved their first lead of the night on the first possession of the second half.
An 11-yard, catch-and-run touchdown from quarterback Devlin Hodges to running back James Conner capped a seven-play, 69-yard drive in 3:42. Kicker Chris Boswell's extra point put the Steelers ahead, 10-7, with 11:18 left in the third quarter. Hodges hit wide receiver Diontae Johnson for 31 yards (wide receiver Tevin Jones recovered Johnson's fumble at the end of the play) and wide receiver James Washington for 7 on the first two snaps of the possession. Tight end Zach Gentry's first catch of the season went for 4 yards on third-and-3 from the Bills' 31. Conner had a 17-yard run two plays before the touchdown.
A forced fumble by outside linebacker T.J. Watt and a recovery by nickel cornerback Mike Hilton halted Buffalo's subsequent possession at the Steelers' 31.
The Bills turned good field position following a 22-yard punt into the game's first score early in the second quarter.
Buffalo took over at the Steelers' 40-yard line with 3:45 left in the first quarter and marched 40 yards in nine plays in 4:23, with quarterback Josh Allen finishing the drive on a 1-yard touchdown run. Allen kept the drive alive when he converted a fourth-and-6 from the Steelers' 36 on a 10-yard completion to wide receiver John Brown. Singletary gained 3 on third-and-2 from the Steelers' 18 and then 14 to the Steelers' 1 prior to Allen's TD run and Hauschka's conversion.
The Steelers countered with a 49-yard field goal from Boswell that trimmed the Bills' lead to 7-3 with 11:26 left in the second. The drive covered 41 yards in six plays in 2:56. The big play was a 34-yard completion from Hodges to Washington on the first snap of the possession that advanced the ball to the Buffalo 38.
The Steelers missed an opportunity to cut the lead again or take the lead after an interception and 33-yard return by cornerback Steven Nelson produced a first-and-10 from the Bills' 20 with 2:28 remaining prior to halftime. But a Wildcat snap to Conner on first-and-goal from the Bills' 10 ultimately resulted in a handoff to Johnson, a forced fumble by Bills defensive end Trent Murphy and a recovery by Bills safety Jordan Poyer.
The Bills ended up possessing the ball for 19:06 in the first half to the Steelers' 10:54.
Buffalo also had edges in total net yards (131-64) and first downs (11-5) in the first two quarters.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 15 game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field