First half observations - BUF vs. PIT

Posted Aug 16, 2014

Here's a look at what stood out in the first 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes of play here are the most noteworthy developments in Buffalo’s performance against the Steelers.

Run ‘D’ stout again
Buffalo’s run defense was facing a power run game for the first time this preseason and they responded just as effectively as they did in their previous two preseason outings. The first team defense held the Steelers to just 11 yards on seven carries not counting Landry Jones kneel down at the end of the half. The 1.6 yards per carry average was even better than the 1.72 yards per carry average the first team defense came into the game with from their first two preseason contests.

Long drives
For the second straight week the Bills had little trouble moving the football. Four of the first five possessions by the offense went nine plays or more with a pair of 11-play drives. EJ Manuel was 17-27 passing for 148 yards passing (1 INT) and converted more than half of their third down opportunities (5-9, 55.5%). The problem was their inability to reach the end zone. Buffalo went 0-2 in the red zone in the first half including an unsuccessful attempt on 4th-and-goal from the three-yard line.

Overcoming setbacks
Buffalo’s third possession of the game was a mix of positive of negative plays. After moving the ball to midfield Pittsburgh’s defense turned up the pressure flushing EJ Manuel from the pocket on consecutive plays. He threw the ball away from outside the tackle box on the first pressure, but was flagged for intentional grounding on the second. Facing a 3rd-and-27 however, Manuel threw a strike to Scott Chandler, who picked up 24 yards on the play. From there Dan Carpenter picked up the offense with a healthy-looking 53-yard field goal to get points on a drive that looked dead in the water.

Big play victims
When it came to Pittsburgh’s ground game they weren’t very successful in the first half, but when Ben Roethlisberger went to the air Buffalo fell victim to some big plays. The Steelers veteran QB converted three of four third down plays one of which went for a 16-yard touchdown. The other big play surrendered was a 76-yard catch and run for a score by Antonio Dixon.