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Top 3 Things We Learned

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Top 3 things we learned from Bills at Steelers | Week 15

Bills defense celebrates Levi Wallace's game-clinching interception during the Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers game on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field. Photo by Bill Wippert
Bills defense celebrates Levi Wallace's game-clinching interception during the Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers game on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Bills playoff ticket punched!

It was anything but easy, but Buffalo's defense outperformed the league's leading takeaway team forcing five turnovers of their own including an interception by Levi Wallace, the first of his career, to seal the Bills 10th victory and a 2019 playoff berth.

"We get doubted every week that we're not good enough," said Jordan Phillips, who had a pair of sacks in the victory. "We have one of the best D-lines in the league, if not the best, and we put it on display. How good is this defense playing right now?

"What was the score 17-10? We had five turnovers. Tre' had two pics and Levi Wallace had a pick. Poyer had a big day. What else what else do you all want?"

It was a nail-biting type game for the Bills as they clung to a seven-point lead after Josh Allen orchestrated his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season with a touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft with just under eight minutes remaining.

Jordan Poyer appeared to end the Steelers threat with his interception in the end zone on a 4th-and-7 with two minutes remaining.

But Buffalo's offense could not get a much-needed first down and were forced to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh with 1:31 left. The Steelers drove down as far as the Bills 34-yard line, but Hodges' heave to the end zone again was picked off by Levi Wallace for the first interception of his career to seal the victory.

"It's hard to win a game and then when you talk about playoffs being here three years to be in it two out of three years, what a blessing," said head coach Sean McDermott. "It's all people. It really is. It's all the people in that locker room. All the people back home at One Bills Drive. All the fans. The fans coming to a place like Pittsburgh. Unreal man. Unreal. I'm humbled by it and yet we're hungry to continue to grow and get better."

2. Tre'Davious White shows out on Sunday night

Tre'Davious White has been putting together a Pro Bowl season. He likely cemented a spot in the league's all-star game with his two-interception performance against the Steelers.

White's first pick came on a pass intended for James Washington on 3rd-and-15. Unfortunately, the Bills offense couldn't turn it into points.

In the second half, on a 1st-and-10 Hodges threw a pass intended for Diontae Johnson and White jumped the route returning it 49 yards to the Steelers 18-yard line.

"When I was in coverages I got a good read on the route," said White. "And I just broke on it and just believed in my film study and the things that I've been seeing earlier in the game and the quarterback threw the ball and I was able to make a big-time play."

Buffalo's offense however, only managed a field goal off the takeaway to tie the game.

But for White it gave him six interceptions on the season to tie him for the league lead with New England's Stephon Gilmore. But White was more focused on the INT he didn't get.

"I could have seven on the read I had on the post (pattern), but it's pretty dope man," White said. "The guys on the front end, they've been doing a great job all year for us to stay over the top of receivers and they're getting pressure on the quarterback, they just throw the ball up and we able to make plays so those guys deserve a lot of credit and we're just reaping the benefits of the pressure for the last two years."

White is the first Bills defensive back since Jairus Byrd to record six interceptions in a season. Byrd had nine in 2009.

3. John Brown delivers again

At a time when Buffalo's offense needed a big play, their top wideout was there to provide it when it mattered most. Coming out of a change of possession, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and the offense decided to take a shot with a go ball to Brown down the left sideline.

"It felt good," said Josh Allen. "I felt a little pressure so I just tried to get it up to him. I saw he had a step. So I tried to put it in out in front of him. I could've done a better job, but he made an 'and one' getting the flag (for defensive pass interference). You love to see a guy make that play."

"Good communication by our offensive coaches," said McDermott. "Well executed by Josh and John and the line gave him time. So just a little adjustment there during the game and it paid off for us."

The 40-yard pass play set the Bills up 1st-and-10 at the Pittsburgh 30-yard line. Five plays later, Allen and TE Tyler Kroft were on the same page in reading the defense as Kroft took his route outside for the go-ahead score. But Allen said none of that would've happened if Brown didn't make the tough catch down the sideline.

"The flow of the game and what it was dictating, it was a huge play for us because it got us into points territory," Allen said. "It allowed us to be aggressive on third down (for the touchdown)."

Brown was the only consistent part of Buffalo's passing game in the first half when he had five catches for 39 yards. By games' end he had racked up a seven-catch 99-yard performance. But in the eyes of Allen his top receiver's best play of the game didn't involve him making a catch at all.

"Two plays later after his big catch we have a run play to the right and he's the first one on it," said Allen of Devin Singletary's fumble in the red zone. "He's one of those guys who continues to do his job whether it's catching a 40-yard pass or jumping on a fumble so we can score on that drive."

Brown's 99 receiving yards he eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in just 14 games, becoming the first Bills player to do so since Lee Evans in 2006. His seven catches also put him at 71 on the season, making him the first Bills wideout with 70 receptions in a season since Stevie Johnson in 2012.

All in a day's work.

The Bills defeated the Steelers 17-10 in a primetime matchup on Sunday Night Football, earning a playoff berth in the process. Scroll through to see the top photos of the team celebrating after the Week 15 win!

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