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Winners and Losers from the Steelers' 26-15 loss to the Bills

Updated: Dec 15, 2020



Winners


Mike Hilton - Hilton picked off Josh Allen in the first quarter. Cam Heyward got pressure on the play and hit Allen's arm as he was throwing and Hilton was able to intercept the wobbly pass. In the second quarter, Hilton forced tight end Dawson Knox to fumble and Cam Sutton came up with the recovery at the Bills' 30-yard line. Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger completed to James Washington for a 19-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead with 8:21 remaining in the first half. Hilton finished the game with five total tackles (three solos), a tackle for loss, a pass defended, an interception and a forced fumble.


Cam Heyward - Heyward dominated in the first half and got consistent pressure on Allen. The Bills made a halftime adjustment and started double-teaming Heyward in the second half.


Losers


Diontae Johnson - Johnson came into Week 14 leading the league in drops with 10 and had three drops on Monday against the Washington Football Team. On the first two series of the game, Johnson had two drops on three targets. The first drop came on the first offensive play of the game when Ben Roethlisberger threw a quick screen out to the left side. Johnson was looking to run before he hauled in the pass. The second drop happened on third-and-7 and Johnson could have had the first down over the middle if he made the grab. Johnson got benched after the two drops and James Washington replaced him. Johnson returned to the game in the third quarter.


Eric Ebron - The Steelers had the ball on Buffalo's 41-yard line and were driving with the score tied at 0-0 and 11:57 remaining in the second quarter. However, the possession came to a halt with another drop. Ebron ran a route over the middle and would have had first down yardage, but he failed to haul in Roethlisberger's pass. Like Johnson, Ebron has struggled in the previous two games and had three drops against Washington.


Ben Roethlisberger - Things just went downhill in the game after cornerback Taron Johnson picked off Roethlisberger's pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Bills a 9-7 lead at the end of the second half. Johnson read Roethlisberger's eyes the whole time as he was staring down Smith-Schuster and returned the interception 51 yards on the pick-six. The Bills scored 14 points in the third quarter and went into the fourth quarter with a 23-7 lead. In the fourth quarter with the Steelers trailing 26-15 and 7:17 remaining in the game, Roethlisberger threw a deep pass down the right sidelines intended for Washington and got picked off by cornerback Levi Wallace. Washington had Wallace beat on the play, but Roethlisberger underthrew the pass. Roethlisberger has struggled this season when throwing deep. Roethlisberger finished the game 21 of 37 (56.8%) for 187 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 65.9. Both his completion percentage and quarterback rating were season lows.


Stephon Tuitt - Tuitt wasn't even on the stat sheet against the Bills. He had no tackles. Tuitt has been great this year, but he didn't show up against Buffalo.


The secondary - Sutton and Steven Nelson both had three passes defended in the first half and Hilton had an interception and forced a fumble as well that was recovered by Sutton. The defense overall just gave up three points in the first half. In the second half things started to unravel, as on the Bills' first offensive possession in the third quarter they had an eight-play, 68-yard scoring drive that was capped off by an Allen touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs to give the Bills a 16-7 lead. Nelson was in coverage on the play and slipped and fell, which left Diggs wide-open on a slant for the touchdown. In addition to the score, Diggs had four receptions for 42 on the drive. The Bills scored on their next possession on a four-play, 57-yard drive that ended with an Allen 13-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis to give the Bills a 23-7 lead with 7:02 left in the third quarter. It looked like the Steelers were in Cover 2 and Allen pump-faked on the play and completed to Davis in the back of the end zone between Minkah Fitzpatrick and Nelson for the score. Diggs had receptions of 22 and 19 yards on the first two plays of the drive. Keith Butler and the defense had no answer for Diggs in the second half. Diggs finished the game with 10 receptions for 130 yards (13.0 average) and a touchdown. After going down 7-0 in the second quarter, Buffalo scored 23 unanswered points.


Third-down offense - The offense was 1 of 10 on third downs in the game. Just brutal.


The offense - The offense has just been abysmal in the last three games and scored a season-low 15 points against Buffalo. After scoring 24 points or more in their first 10 games of the season, the Steelers have scored 19 points or fewer in their last three games. There are still way too many drops and they simply can't run the ball. They rushed for 47 yards on 17 attempts in the game, an average of 2.8 yards per carry. They have rushed for 48 yards or fewer in five of their last seven games. Defenses have the Steelers' dink-and-dunk offense figured out and Roethlisberger has not been good when throwing deep this year. The offense has no identity and they're heading into Week 15. Like I said last week if the offense can't establish some type of running game, the Steelers will be out of the playoffs fast.

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