Steeler Nation , the Steelers are now 3-6 after defeating the Buffalo Bills 23-10. The Steelers defense played tough rebounding from last weeks debacle. Let’s take a look at the Good , the Bad and the Ugly of the game.
The Good :
Let’s start with the Steelers run defense . The Steelers held the Bills to 95 yards rushing on 22 attempts .Bills running back Fred Jackson had 12 carries for 55 yards. C.J. Spiller ran 8 times for 23 yards. No Bills runner ran for longer than an 11 yard run, a much-needed improvement over the past couple weeks. The Steelers defense as a whole was much improved as the Bills only had a total net of 227 yards total offense,10 points and the Steelers defense collected 3 sacks.
The Steelers secondary played well and was a big part of the victory. Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark rebounded making plays and staying discipline. Ryan Clark came up with a key interception late in the game to help seal the victory.
On offense WR Antonio Brown bounced back from his benching last week in a positive manner to catch 6 catches for 104 yards. Brown is having a Pro Bowl season and is the Steelers number one receiving weapon.
WR Jerricho Cotchery continues to be clutch and his touchdown catch was a thing of beauty as he ran the play to perfection.
The Steelers special teams continues to be a positive factor with Antonio Brown coming up with key punt returns at crucial times with a couple of punt returns of 24 and 50 yards that helped set up scoring drives. Kicker Shaun Suisham made three field goals (36,37 and 23) . The Steelers coverage units played very good not allowing any major returns on kicks or punts.
The Steelers offense continues to struggle in the red zone . Too many times this season the Steelers have had to settle for field goals and the trend continued against the Bills. The Steelers must improve in this area . Settling for field goals will cost them against better opponents and the Steelers must be able to cash in on these scoring opportunities .
The punting game continues to be a problem. Punter Mat McBriar had a net average of 36 yards . To be fair the punting conditions were far from perfect with high winds most of the game, but still McBriar must be more constant . He has had more than a couple bad punts at inopportune times.
The Steelers offensive line has had no luck in the injury department as linemen continue to fall to injuries. Guard Ramon Foster suffered a high ankle sprain and may not be play this week. The Steelers offensive line continues to be a revolving door unable to establish any continuity due to injuries and inconsistent play. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 4 times and the Steelers are giving up sacks at a record pace with 36 allowed through 9 game.This stat must improve despite the many injuries.
The Steelers offense has shown slow improvements especially in the running game but as a whole has yet to establish itself as a consistent scoring threat. The Steelers could have easily had over 30 points against the Bills but continued to have drives stall in the red zone. The Steelers must improve in this area and both players and coaches need to do a better job .