Steelers Beat Bills 38-7 After Slow Start – Game Recap

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown overcame two early drops on his way to catching 7 balls for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Steelers rolled past the Buffalo Bills 38-7 Saturday night in their third preseason game of the 2012 season.

The win did not come without a cost, however, as the Steelers might have now lost rookie right guard David DeCastro for the season with what head coach Mike Tomlin called a potentially severe right knee injury after the game. DeCastro injured the knee on the Steelers second offensive possession deep in their own end.

The Steelers first round draft pick appeared to have gotten his right leg trapped underneath him as he fell backwards and he was in immediate pain right after hit the ground. The Stanford product was attended to by the Steelers training staff and carted off to the locker room for further examination.

The Steelers offense got off to slow start, as did their defense, but after falling behind 7-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Bills running back Fred Jackson with just over 10 minutes to go in the first quarter, it was all Pittsburgh from there on out.

Linebacker Lawrence Timmons started things off by stripping the ball from Bills running back C.J. Spiller with 10:33 left in the half. The ball was recovered by defensive end Ziggy Hood at the Bills 18 yard-line and the offense took advantage of the field position to even the game at 7 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Isaac Redman that capped a 5 play drive.

With under two minutes to go in the first half, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger engineered an 11 play, 98 yard drive that was kept alive by a nice catch by running back Jonathan Dwyer on a 3rd down and 9 play from the Steelers own 3 yard-line. Roethlisberger continued to run the hurry-up offense with authority as he connected on passes to Dwyer, Jerricho Cotchery, Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller to set the Steelers offense up deep inside Bills territory. Roethlisberger capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown to Brown, his first of two on the night, to put the Steelers up by a touchdown.

Roethlisberger was done for the night after that drive and his final stat line was 17-of-24 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown. He was, however, sacked twice during the night.

The Steelers second team offense came out with a bang as backup quarterback Byron Leftwich connected with Brown from 39 yards out just one play after safety Troy Polamalu intercepted a Vince Young pass intended for Bills tight end Dorin Dickerson.

The touchdown from Leftwich to Brown came off of play action that featured Dwyer executing a nice chop block on a Bills defender that was coming free.

Leftwich would add another touchdown pass to wide receiver Derrick Williams early in the 4th quarter following an interception by undrafted free agent safety Robert Golden of a Young pass intended for Bills wide receiver Kamar Aiken.

The Steelers preseason route of the Bills was complete after kicker Danny Hrapmann connected on a 40 yard field goal and rookie running back Chris Rainey bolted 41 yards off right tackle to close out the scoring.

Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was not effective against the Steelers defense after they gained their composer from a slow start and he finished the night 7-of-18 passing for 89 yards and no touchdowns.

The Steelers defense recorded two sacks of their own against the Bills with linebacker Chris Carter and defensive end Corbin Bryant getting the credit. The only moderate success the Bills offense had was on the ground as they rushed for 103 yards on 26 carries.

Rainey led the Steelers in rushing with 41 yards on 3 carries, while running back Tashard Choice led the Bills on the ground with 50 yards rushing on 7 carries.

With the win the Steelers now move to 2-1 on the preseason and they will now prepare to host the Carolina Panthers next Saturday night at Heinz Field to close out the preseason.

The only other injury that Tomlin reported after the game was a high sprain suffered by defensive end Brett Keisel. Tomlin termed it mild in nature and he said that the Steelers starting right defensive end was held out for the rest of the game as a precaution. The hope is that Keisel will be ready to go for the season opener in Denver.

  • Busforever

    Is that me or Big Ben realy dislikes Todd Haley’s ultra conservative (so far) playcalling? I saw frustration on Big Ben’s bodylanguage. And on the 99 yard drive, he was the one who was calling the plays, and we saw the results. Responding to a journalist,who asked him how could he explain the level of execution on this drive, He just said «I called the plays, cause I could see what the defense was doing». This sounds like a shot to Todd Haley. Of course it’s important de keep Big Ben safe, but our OC need to use Big Ben qualities. And Big Ben is one of the best at reading defenses, let them move and throwing to holes. Haley can’t write a gameplan where he just ask to Roethlisberger to throw some automatic passes – why do you have a great QB if he can’t have the ball more than just one second? And why do you have great receivers if you don’t let them enough time to separate from the CB or shake the defense? I hope Todd Haley is in preseason mode, and is also waiting for Mike Wallace. We can’t judge on preseason, but Big Ben’s frustration is coming early…

  • Shannon Stephenson

    heard the interview as well and that was my take too.

  • lowness

    I think Ben’s comment was unnecessary and in poor form, but that’s Ben. He delivered so I guess that’s all that really matters.

  • SteelerDave

    I agree with your sentiments entirely. Ben needs to be Ben on the field. He sure will say what he wants, just like always. I know Ben takes heat for talking about even the smallest injury he has but I respect Ben for speaking his mind when he feels he should. Haley has to understand Ben like us fans do and allow Ben to be Ben on the field as well.

  • strummerfan

    After 3 preseason games I think there should be some level of concern about this offense. So far Haley appears to be the king of the 1-2 yard pass. That’s great for a game manager type qb, but we have a franchise qb and should be utilizing his skill set. The starters have only produced 2 drives of any substance. One versus the Eagles and the no huddle/hurry up from last night. Other than that we’ve seen way too many 3 and outs for an offense with this much talent.
    Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the sky is falling by any means. However, this should be a dynamic offense and what we’ve seen so far has been very average(at best). Hopefully things will change once the regular season starts.

  • zyzak

    Lets wait until the season starts before blaming Haley’s offense. Ben called all the plays in the no huddle which is what a QB like him should be doing. I think the Steelers should stop playing on field turf in the pre season, or at least keep thir key people on the sideline. They should all be in street clothes on Thursday night

  • Pete

    dudes, this is still pre-season. Chan Gailey mentioned the Bills playbook was mostly vanilla and there’s no reason to believe the Steelers were any different. Give it time and a few games into the regular season before judging the Steelers offense.

    The Steelers were up against a premium front 4 in the Bills. Those 4 can get pressure on anyone. So considering it’s still pre-season, the Steelers did well to cope with a reduced playbook. The 99 yd drive was impressive and offers a glimpse of things to come. Haley has said this season will feature more no-huddle than we have seen in the past.

  • Busforever

    Yeah, I don’t want to blame Haley after 3 preseason games. But what worries me is the bodylanguage of Big Ben. He really seemed bored with the playcalling during the first half. In the last 2 minutes, he called the plays himself (did he was asked to or did he decided to? I’m sure he didn’t call the first 2 plays of the drive: he clearly didn’t like the FB dive). As soon as Ben called the play, it was the only time our offense seemed good. I’m affraid Haley and Big Ben aren’t on the same page at all. And Big Ben could say to Tomlin «let me call the play, when Haley is doing the job we aren’t efficient, when it’s me we are».