NFL Game of the Week Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills


In what could have been a breakout game for the Buffalo Bills and WR Stevie Johnson turned out to be a knife in the heart of the Bills faithful. The Bills hosted the supremely talented Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday in what the Steelers presumed to be a walkover game for the AFC North Division leaders. And they had every reason to think so as the Steelers have been one of the NFL’s most dominate teams and the Bills had a 2-8 record till  that. But as many other opponents of the Bills have done, they over looked them and found themselves in a fight to the end.

The Steelers jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead and took it into the half with the contest on ice as they controlled nearly every facet of the game up till that point. RB Rashard Mendenhall put the Steelers on the scoreboard with a 1-yard touchdown run after a long opening drive that consumed almost 8 minutes and took 13 plays for 78-yards. Mendenhall finished with 36 carries for 151-yards and 1 touchdown. With ¼ of the first half already accounted for on the opening drive the Bills struggled to find a first half rhythm. K Shaun Suisham added the extra point to the touchdown to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead and he later added a 45 and 46-yard field goal to give them a 13-0 lead. Everything seemed fine for Pittsburgh till the second half began.

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Buffalo opened the second half with a long drive of their own with 12-plays for 48-yards but it resulted in a fumble by WR Lee Evans. Pittsburgh would recover the fumble but the tone was set for the second half with the Bills controlling the game clock. After 6 plays the Steelers punted the ball back to the Bills and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick promptly threw a 65-yard touchdown to RB Fred Jackson. Bills K Rian Lindell kicked 3 field goals to tie the score 16-16 at the end of regulation to force the game into overtime.

With the momentum in favor of Buffalo the game seemed all but done when the Bills won the coin flip to get the first possession of overtime. Fitzpatrick had his way with the Steelers defensive secondary the second half who finished with 23 completions on 45 attempts for 265-yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. But both teams failed to muster up a first down for the first portion of overtime and the game came to a standstill. That was till Johnson entered the picture.

Fitzpatrick drove the Bills to the Pittsburgh 40-yard line and had the victory in sight as he threw a perfect pass to Johnson who was wide open with only the end zone in front of him. Johnson who had a horrible game with 5 drops failed to make the routine catch and the Bills would never recover. The were forced to punt and Pittsburgh who was lead by QB Ben Roethlisberger and drove the ball down the field and Suisham kicked a game winning 41-yard field goal to make the score 19-16. Roethlisberger finished with 20 completions on 33 attempts for 246-yards.

Johnson who had 7 catches for 68-yards was inconsolable after the game for dropping the game winning catch. The loss dropped the hard working Bills to 2-9 and cemented another losing season in Buffalo. Pittsburgh improved to 8-3 but the victory was not celebrated amongst the Steelers as they nearly let one slip away to a inferior team. If it wasn’t for the drop by Johnson the Steelers would have a 7-4  record and their finger on the panic button.