Le'Veon Bell ran for a Steelers club record 236 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Steelers to a 27-20 win over the Bills killing their faint playoff hopes. Bell's dominating day was also the biggest rushing day against the Bills ever. He had a whopping 298 total yards from scrimmage. The game wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. If Ben Roethlisberger didn't throw three interceptions and the Bills didn't score two garbage time touchdowns it would have been much worse. The Bills got their first touchdown thanks to a Stephon Gilmore interception that setup a Tyrod Taylor touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins. Lorenzo Alexander and Zach Brown also had interceptions but it wasn't nearly enough as Bell just took control of the game against a defense that looked disinterested most of the game. Charles Clay had a 40 yard touchdown catch and run in the fourth quarter followed by a LeSean McCoy touchdown in the final minutes. Dan Carpenter missed an extra point and his last minute onside kick only went three yards before going out of bounds to end any hopes at a comeback.
The Turning Point:
The 1st Steelers TD: A three yard TD run by Bell gave the Steelers an early lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The Big Drive:
Steelers 3rd TD: The Bills were hanging around despite being dominated throughout the game. The Steelers took their first possession of the third quarter after a Bills three and out and ran the ball down the Bills throat. The 10 play, 82 yard drive started and ended with Bell running wild on the Bills. He scored on a 5 yard run where he actually strolled into the end zone. The 6:33 drive saw nine runs from Bell for 72 yards. They continued their domination of the game on that drive.
Stat I Did Like:
Takeaways: They had three takeaways but it didn't matter as they were dominated in every other phase of the game.
Stat I Didn't Like:
Le'Veon Bell's nearly 300 all purpose yard day.
Scene Setters: - The Bills wore blue jerseys and white pants. - Rochester native Lou Gramm of the legendary rock group Foreigner sang the National Anthem. - Twitter reports were swirling about the Bills before the game including the possible firing of Rex Ryan, benching of Taylor, and the pursuit of Tony Romo in the offseason. - The stadium was filled with approximately 1/3 Steeler fans who made the three hour ride from Pittsburgh. Many of them had the really good seats so lots of season ticket holders must have sold this game. - There was a delay to the start of the 2nd half after the snow plows left big piles of the rubber pellets from the turf along the sides of the field.
Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article: RB LeSean McCoy vs. LB Lawrence Timmons: Winner: Timmons. There was nowhere for Shady to run in this game. LT Cordy Glenn vs. LB James Harrison: Winner: Glenn. Harrison didn't do much when Glenn was in there. He did miss a quarter and a half when his back acted up. CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Antonio Brown: Winner: Gilmore. He had an interception and solid coverage no matter who he was covering. LB Zach Brown vs. RB Le'Veon Bell: Winner: Bell. He had huge holes to run through and was simply dominant.
Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out: 1. Force Turnovers: Success! Roethlisberger's two intercpetions in the first half was the only reason it was a one touchdown game at the intermission. 2. Contain Roethlisberger: Failure! He had all day to throw and plenty of open targets then they switched to the running game in the second half. 3. Play Mentally Tough: Failure! They simply didn't seem like they wanted to play which may spell the end of the line for Rex Ryan.
This loss will put an end to the silly talk of the Bills being in the playoff hunt. Now the talk comes off the field and on to the front office turmoil. We no longer are gonna be talking about Xs and Os but if Ryan is going to get fired or if Taylor is going to get benched. It feels like the movie Groundhog Day. How many times have we been here? Just the same old medicority over and over again is just maddening. I wasn't thinking about Rex getting fired until the reports came out before the game that it may happen. Now I feel it's just a matter of time. His defenses have been awful and there is no discipline with this team. Problem is that means another rebuilding project. A terrible December loss, coaching and quarterback changes, and another rebuild on the horizon. At this rate it is hard to imagine this team getting to the playoff before this drought hits 25 years.
The Bills stay home to take on the winless Browns. Wouldn't it be a kick on the stomach to see them get their first win against Buffalo? The way the Bills are playing now it is a distinct possibility.
Stephon Gilmore - Really played solid in coverage.
Lorenzo Alexander - Got his first career interception.
Rex Ryan - If this is the end of the line for him, it will leave a sour taste in his mouth.
Tyrod Taylor - He has a complete loss of confidence.
The Defensive Front Seven - Yes they missed Kyle Williams a lot but they just were blown off the ball all day long.
Dan Carpenter - He missed another extra point and had the worst onside kick I ever saw.
Player Of The Week
Stephon Gilmore - His interception was the one highlight for the Bills.