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Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rookie review

Rousseau debuts to heavy usage; Brown sees the field in limited capacity

The Buffalo Bills played a choppy, mistake-prone game en-route to a 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The offense couldn’t seem to string solid plays together between committing back-breaking penalties and several dropped passes. Meanwhile, the defense played well, but failed to come up with any turnovers or big plays despite a handful of chances. Although not many rookies played against Pittsburgh, Rousseau in particular had a positive debut. More about how each rookie performed against the Steelers below.

DE Gregory Rousseau

Emerging from the offseason as a surprising starter, Rousseau’s first NFL game was mostly positives, even if he didn’t appear much on the final stat sheet. The rookie first-rounder saw 52 percent of the defensive snaps, and immediately spent the first half proving he can hold up against NFL tackles in the run-blocking department. His quickness off the snap and length to jerk tackles back helped his teammates stuff Najee Harris a few times. When rushing the passer, Rousseau didn’t necessarily attack tackles using any sophisticated pass-rush techniques, but raw athleticism was enough to earn at least some pressure on Ben Roethlisberger (when the quarterback wasn’t throwing the ball immediately at the top of his drop). Later in the second half, his pace of play seemed to slow a bit and he was more easily controlled by the Pittsburgh tackles or even their tight ends for a snap or two. Overall, it was a solid debut for Rousseau.

DE Carlos Basham Jr.

Basham was a somewhat surprising name to see on the inactive list, considering Efe Obada—his main preseason competition—was active for the game. This will be worth tracking as the season progresses.

OT Spencer Brown

The de-facto swing tackle, Brown saw the field for four snaps during plays that demanded and extra lineman. He did hold his ground on the ill-advised 4th-&-1 flea-flicker play that resulted in an incompletion, but other than that there wasn't too much to report.

OT Tommy Doyle

With Brown active and seeing the field, Doyle was listed as inactive against the Steelers, which should be a weekly occurrence this season, barring injury.

WR Marquez Stevenson

Stevenson remains listed on IR with a head injury and will stay there for at least another two weeks.

S Damar Hamlin

The team’s listed fourth safety, Hamlin did not see the field on defense against the Steelers.

OG Jack Anderson

Anderson remains on the team’s practice squad, and was protected for that purpose. Expect this to continue throughout the season.