Week 10: Anemic Offensive Effort Leads To Loss
Bills offense had no answers for inspired Steelers defense.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
EJ Manuel was very rusty and very inaccurate as most of his passes were off the mark. He finished 22 for 39 for 155 yards a touchdown and an interception.
Grade F: His stats were inflated by garbage time TD drive.
C.J. Spiller seemed to still be limited although he showed no ill effects from his ankle injury. He carried the ball only 8 times for 23 yards and could never break loose.
Fred Jackson didn't do much more against the second worst run defense in the league. He had 12 carries for 55 yards and couldn't punch it in on the goal line.
Grade F: The running game was a big disappointment in this one.
Stevie Johnson seemed to be the focal point of the offense before going out late with a groin injury. He was targeted 10 times but only caught three passes for 48 yards. He dropped one and seemed to not try for another one.
Marquise Goodwin only had two catches for 9 yards and almost pulled in a bad pass for a first down but couldn't hold on.
T.J. Graham continues to be a non factor with just one short catch on the final drive.
Scott Chandler had three catches for 21 yards but was a non factor.
Chris Hogan made a nice 16 yard one handed reception late in the game but was shaken up on the play and left the game.
Marcus Easley had two catches for 13 yards.
Chris Gragg had a pass thrown to him on a TE screen and he was wide open for a big gainer but he dropped it. He finally caught his first NFL pass for nine yards late in the game during garbage time and then caught his first NFL touchdown in the final seconds. He led the team with four catches for 25 yards, all in garbage time.
Grade F: They didn't do much either to help out Manuel.
Eric Wood didn't open up any holes for the running game.
Erik Pears did a decent job in pass protection.
Grade F: The Steelers dominated the trenches. No room for the running game and three sacks given up.
Mario Williams was so quiet in this game he doesn't appear on the stat sheet.
Marcell Dareus pressured Roethlisberger into an incompletion that followed that up with a strip sack on the next play that Roethlisberger recovered. He had a terrible offsides penalty on a 4th and 3 field goal attempt giving the Steelers a 1st and goal and an eventual touchdown. He also had four tackles.
Kyle Williams got a big sack of Roethlisberger to force a field goal in the second quarter and had five tackles as he was active on the day.
Jerry Hughes was right there with Williams on the third down sack and then got two third down sacks to force punts.
Alan Branch was in on three tackles.
Grade A: They got the pressure with four sacks and did a decent job against the run.
Manny Lawson got good containment throughout the game and was in on four tackles.
Kiko Alonso led the way with 10 tackles but was pretty quiet in this one.
Nigel Bradham had four tackles.
Arthur Moats struggled stopping the run at times, he had six tackles.
Grade C: Gave up some plays in the middle of the defense.
Jairus Byrd returned an interception 57 yards stopping a Steelers drive on their first possession and setup the Bills offense in good field position that resulted in a field goal. He made a nice open field tackle short of the sticks on a third and 4 completion. Broke up a pass and was in on five tackles.
Stephon Gilmore was called for holding on the Steelers first possession. He then was beaten by Crotchery for a catch than missed the tackle allowing him 26 yards on the catch and run. He was then beaten by Crotchery badly on the Steelers first touchdown late in the first half. He was beaten for two passes in the final seconds of the half as well. Brown then got a 40 yard reception against Gilmore when he beat him badly in the third quarter. He did cover him well to force an incompletion in the end zone. In the fourth quarter he was beaten by Sanders for a nine yard completion on 3rd and 4 when the Bills desperately needed a stop.
Leodis McKelvin was beaten when Antonio Brown found an open spot in the zone for a 24 yard completion that setup Pittsburgh's first touchdown. Brown beat him again for a 20 yard reception in the third quarter.
Aaron Williams left the game briefly with an ankle injury. He broke up a pass in the end zone and was in on five tackles.
Da'Norris Searcy replaced Williams while he was out and had two assists before injuring his hamstring.
Grade D: Gave up way too many big plays.
Brian Moorman punted nine times in windy conditions and had a 36.9 yards average but just a 24.2 yard net thanks to some good returns and some short punts. Three were fair caught inside the 20.
Dan Carpenter hit his only field goal from 20 yards out.
Leodis McKelvin fumbled one punt but recovered it. He averaged just 3.8 yards on four returns.
Marquise Goodwin tried to return one kickoff but slipped down at the 14 yard line.
Coverage Units did a poor job allowing punt returns of 50 and 24 yards.
Grade D: Hurt the team this week.
Doug Marrone worked hard this week to fix the red zone woes and failed miserably on their first possession when they called a bad fade pass on third and goal from the 2. It didn't work and the Bills had to settle for three. Questionable call punting early in the fourth quarter on a 4th and 5 play from the Steelers 36 down by two touchdowns.
Nathaniel Hackett couldn't get the running game going. Questionable play calling throwing a sideline pattern on 3rd and 1 in the third quarter. On the next series he attempted a bomb on 3rd and short and was incomplete. Why keep trying low probability pass patterns when Manuel was inaccurate all game? He did it again on a 3rd and 5 pass to the sideline that Johnson caught out of bounds.
Mike Pettine did a decent job as the defense played pretty well most of the game.
Grade F: First really bad loss of the season.
Steelers Game Preview