It was a cold, snowy night in Buffalo when Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers marched into Bills Stadium for a primetime Sunday Night Football matchup. The 11-1 Steelers were looking to keep the first seed in the AFC intact, while Josh Allen and the 9-3 Buffalo Bills looked to widen the gap in the AFC East by taking advantage of a loss that the Miami Dolphins suffered to the Kansas City Chiefs earlier that afternoon.
In a first half that wasn't very exciting for the casual football fan, both the Bills and Steelers looked like the weather was getting to them. Allen and Roethlisberger were having a tough time completing passes, receivers were having a tough time holding onto the ball, and the first quarter ended scoreless. Big Ben and the Steelers broke the offensive drought, however, when midway through the second quarter, Roethlisberger threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to James Washington for the first score of the game. It was time for Buffalo to respond. Bills' kicker, Tyler Bass, kicked a 34 yard field goal with 1:42 left in the half to make the score 7-3 Pittsburgh. Less than a minute later, Buffalo cornerback, Taron Johnson, picked Roethlisberger off, and returned the interception for a 51 yard touchdown. The score was 9-3 Buffalo at the half, and the Bills never looked back.
Let's hop right into this week's pro's and con's for the now 10-3 Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo's star wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, went off in Sunday night's game against Pittsburgh. Early in the third quarter, Josh Allen made the decision to get Diggs more involved in a game that needed a jolt of offensive energy. What came next was possibly one of the best performances of Diggs' career. Diggs finished the night with 130 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Diggs was the difference maker in Sunday night's matchup.
Is this even a surprise anymore? Diggs and Allen are consistently the class of this team. Allen struggled to open the game, but he looked like a completely different quarterback when he hit the field for the second half. While we are normally used to seeing Allen throw 300+ yards, he was still able to put on a show. Allen recorded 238 yards and threw two touchdowns, with one interception. The crew over at NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast had nothing but praise for Allen on how far he's come over the last few years, and is now one of the league's top quarterbacks. It's about time the national media sent some recognition Josh Allen's way, and it is very well deserved. Bravo, Josh.
The whole entire defense
Buffalo's defense must've been listening to the hype that followed Pittsburgh into their Week 14 matchup, because absolutely every defensive player showed up to play. Tarron Johnson's aforementioned interception that he returned for a touchdown, Levi Wallace's interception late in the fourth quarter that pretty much secured the victory for Buffalo, Tremaine Edmunds recording six total tackles and one QB hit, and Buffalo's defensive line holding Pittsburgh to 2.8 yards per carry all played a pivotal role in Buffalo's biggest win of the season.
The first half performance
To be fair, both teams got off to a sloppy start. Pittsburgh was never able to pick it up, so I should be thankful that the Bills were able to shake the cobwebs coming back from halftime. However, against other elite AFC teams such as the Chiefs and Titans, that kind of play early in game won't fly, the Bills would have been chewed up and spit back out against those teams with the type of play they showed in the first half last night. If the Bills want any chance at making a deep playoff run, they need to capitalize on every opportunity. The offense was very fortunate to have the defense there to bail them out all throughout the first half.
Josh Allen looked to Dawson Knox a few times last night in pivotal moments, and Knox wasn't able to capitalize on any of them. Give the second-year tight end a break, he's still young and developing. But things seemed to go from bad to worse when Knox fumbled a throw from Allen. Let's be glad that Pittsburgh wasn't able to make something out of the turnover, otherwise the game would have been much closer than it was. Knox did pick his game up a little bit, as he had a nice 16 yard reception late in the fourth quarter on third and 11 that helped the Bills ice the game.
Do you believe in Buffalo yet? If you don't you should probably start. This team is here to stay. The Bills travel to Denver for a Week 15 matchup against the Broncos next Sunday afternoon.
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Have a great week, Bills Mafia!