The Buffalo Bills are in the middle of a battle of attrition with the Pittsburgh Steelers, trading punts and turnovers on the way to a 9-7 halftime lead. Pittsburgh’s only score came from a three play, 30-yard drive set up by Dawson Knox’s fumble. Buffalo didn’t manage to score until the closing minutes of the half, when a nine-play, 58-yard drive fizzled in the red zone and they kicked a field goal. Pittsburgh took over to try and run the two-minute drill, but Taron Johnson jumped in front of a pass intended for Juju Smith-Schuster and ran it back all the way to the end zone. His pick-six gave the Bills the lead right before the half.
Already, these two teams have combined for ten punts in this game. Josh Allen has an interception, caused by a hit on the passer as he threw deep, and with Knox’s lost fumble included, the Bills have two turnovers. The Steelers have put tremendous pressure on the quarterback and his teammates early on—both the “you’ll get sacked” kind, and the “you’d better not mess up” type.
The Bills’ defense is matching tit-for-tat against their Steelers counterparts. Johnson’s interception gave the Bills their first defensive touchdown of the season. Pittsburgh has attempted 14 rushes for a measly 40 yards, and Ben Roethlisberger is barely completing 50 percent of his passes—with 4.7 yards per attempt. The Bills also forced a fumble, but it was recovered by the Steelers.
In the kicking game, Tyler Bass converted his only field goal attempt, but missed the extra point after Buffalo’s touchdown. The Steelers haven’t used their kicker outside of a single kickoff.
Buffalo will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. Can offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Josh Allen decipher Pittsburgh’s defense? If nothing else, can they hold them at bay? Buffalo needs to hold off the Steelers for two quarters to upset the 11-1 top seed of the AFC tonight.
Here’s your discussion thread for the rest of tonight’s game. Go Bills!