Although the Bills made the final score look respectable, the players admitted that seven-point final score wasn't indicative of how they played for the full 60 minutes.
While the loss didn't mathematically eliminate Buffalo from playoff contention, they would need a minor miracle to have a chance at their first postseason football in 17 years.
The first half was ultimately the Bills kryptonite, and with no margin for error, the Bills were disappointed with how they failed to execute from the start.
In those first 30 minutes, the Bills only had six first downs--two of them coming while running out the clock-- and only 46 yards passing from Tyrod Taylor.
Despite only being down 14-7 at the half, it set the tone for the rest of the game.
"Usually we start off fast and put up points, and then later in the game we can't score," Sammy Watkins said. "Today, first half we were flat, and second half we showed flashes and driving on the field. Three-and-out, three-and-out in the first and I don't know why. That's for the coaches to tell us. We have to watch film and go over it."
The film will also show the Bills defense being unable to do anything against one of the game's best running backs. Buffalo said that they developed a game plan to try and stop Bell's patient running style, but that they just weren't able to execute it.
Bell crushed the Bills defense with 236 yards on the ground, and an additional 62 in the air. For a team trying to play from behind in a must-win game, Bell's constant big gains were too much to overcome. Those 236 yards were the most in a single game in Pittsburgh franchise history, and the most that Bills have ever given up in a game, as well. The Steelers came into the game averaging 102 rushing yards a game.
Despite the Bills leading the league in rushing, LeSean McCoy could only manage 27 yards on the ground Sunday. He was limited to only 12 carries with the Bills being down, but his longest rush for the game was only nine yards. McCoy averaged 116 yards on the ground the past two games.
"They did a good job against the run," McCoy said. "They played better than us. There is no excuse. There is no answer … they played better than we did."
Pittsburgh's running game worked so effectively, that it didn't even matter that the Steelers chose to be one dimensional in the second half. On a 10-play, 72-yard drive in the third quarter, Bell carried it nine times and averaged over eight yards a carry. He capped it off with an effortless five-yard touchdown.
Bell finished with 38 carries, and had Bills defenders still scratching their heads even after the game.
"He is amazing," Corey Graham said. "There is no other way to look at it. He is definitely to me the best running back in the league."
On the flip side of that, the Bills wasted a strong performance from their pass defense. Ben Roethlisberger completed only 14 passes all game, and threw three interceptions. He had one in his previous four games. Antonio Brown was held relatively in check as well. He had 78 receiving yards, but only 29 of those came in the second half. He was targeted 11 times and only hauled in five catches.
The Bills did little things in the game that hurt their playoff chances, too. They had seven penalties for 46 yards. One of those negated a 25-yard catch from Charles Clay, and another gave the Steelers a first down after the Bills went offside on a field goal attempt.
No matter what the reasons were in the end, the Bills still feel the hurt of missing their chance to win big games in back-to-back weeks.
"That's what you play for," Lorenzo Alexander said. "Obviously your goal every year is to win the division, get in the playoffs and then win the Super Bowl. Now that you don't have those at stake, it is a disappointing season. We haven't been to the playoffs around here in a long time."