Rashard Mendenhall scores the first TD of the game.
Does anyone else besides me have heart failure right now? This game was way too close. After taking a 13-0 lead at the half, the Steelers allowed the Buffalo Bills to mount another comeback in the second half.
The Bills managed to take the game into overtime with the score knotted at 16. Overtime had its hairy moments, but the Steelers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by kicking the game-winning field with a little over two minutes left.
With that kick, the Steelers are 8-3 heading into a big match-up in Baltimore next week. Before we focus on the Ravens, though, let's take a look back at what happened in this game.
What happened out there today? On the first drive of the game, the Steelers capped of a 13 play, seven minute plus drive with a Mendenhall run.
It was downhill after that.
Bruce Arians decided to go pass happy (surprise), and the offense completely stalled. The offensive line was constantly hit with holding penalties, and Big Ben finished the first half with three sacks.
Things got no better in the second half, as the Steelers continued to pass the ball and commit penalties. A 13-0 lead quickly turned into 13-10 by the fourth quarter.
An interception by Polamalu gave the offense the ball back with a little over two minutes left in regulation.
However, just like in Baltimore, the Steelers couldn't get the first down. Sanders actually got the first on third down, but it was called back due to a (you guessed it) holding penalty.
In overtime, the Steelers narrowly diverted disaster when Big Ben fumbled inside the one-yard line.
On their second possession of overtime, the Steelers finally went to a ground attack. It worked, as the Steelers moved the ball to the 20-yard line, where Shaun Suisham kicked the game-winning field goal.
Even though the offense didn't do too good a job, some players shined. Rashard Mendenhall had 151 rushing yards on 36 carries, his first 100-yard game since Week 3. Hines Ward had a monster day, as well, as he hauled in seven catches for 107 yards.
Redman made some key third-down conversions in the game and nearly broke one for a TD. Wallace didn't have a deep catch today, as he only had three catches for 33 yards.
Ben had an up and down day as he was 20-33 passing for 245 yards and no touchdowns. He was also sacked five times and sustained some kind of foot injury. Not sure how serious yet.
In the end, I give the offense a C-.
I guess last week was a fluke, after all. One week after they blitzed the heck out of the Oakland Raiders, the Steelers went back to their old ways of rushing three and four and dropping seven and eight into coverage.
It worked well in the first half, as the defense saw the field for only four series and held the Bills scoreless. However, the Bills took full advantage of it in the second half.
After they went three-and-out on their first series of the half, the Bills scored on their second series on a 62-yard screen to Fred Jackson.
In my opinion that should have never happened, as Harrison was hit with a roughing-the-passer penalty on third down for leading with his helmet into the QB. It didn't look to me like he was leading with his helmet, but I'm sure he'll hear from Goodell this week.
Harrison would make up for it later when he forced a fumble that Polamalu recovered. The Bills got the ball straight back after a Mendenhall fumble, and the defense held the Bills to only a field goal.
Near the end of the game, Fitzpatrick proceeded to pick the Steelers apart, and a pass interference penalty on Keenan Lewis gave the Bills the ball inside the 20.
That would be the end of that, though, as Polamalu picked off Fitzpatrick on a diving interception and took the ball up to the 15-yard line.
The offense went three-and-out, and the defense managed to hold the Bills to a field goal, and the game went to overtime. The first two Bills drives ended in punts, as Stevie Johnson dropped what would have been the game winner on a deep pass.
Fortunately, the defense didn't have to come back on the field, as Suisham nailed the game-winning field goal.
Overall, the defense was the best unit on the field today. They had two sacks, three turnovers and managed to hold the Bills to 16 points. They may not have made plays when we wanted, but they made them when they had to.
The defense gets a B.
Suisham was a perfect 4/4 today and nailed the game winning field goal for the Steelers.
Welcome to Pittsburgh, Shaun Suisham. After the Steelers cut Jeff Reed, everyone wondered what Suisham would be like.
We didn't get a chance to see last week, but we did this week and he didn't disappoint.
Suisham was a perfect four-for-four on the day, and, unlike Jeff Reed, he made his kicks from 40-49 yards.
If he misses any of those kicks, the Steelers probably lose the game. He didn't, the Steelers won, and that's what matters most.
The coverage unit showed some cracks and creaks today, as they allowed a couple of long returns.
However, they did force a fumble near the end of regulation, though unfortunately it was recovered by the Bills.
Emmanuel Sanders went nowhere today on kickoffs, as he didn't even get past the 30-yard line. Randle El returned punts today, which I thought was a good idea since it was windy. He had one nice return for 15 yards.
Not a bad effort by the special teams today. Just need to plug up those holes in the coverage unit.
The special teams gets a B-.
If there's one thing I learned from this game, it's that the Steelers need to fire Bruce Arians now. The end of the season is too long too wait.
After pounding the ball on the first drive, Arians went pass happy for the rest of the game. As a result, the Steelers didn't score another touchdown.
Worst than that, it seems that Ben has a foot injury. After getting sacked five times, it's a miracle he's still in one piece.
You'd think with your star QB injured the Steelers would go to the ground game. Not Arians.
He still had Ben passing the ball on a bad foot and all. Why? You know you have Baltimore next week, and you know the Steelers can't beat the Ravens without him. Why continue to put him in harm's way?
I could understand if the running game wasn't working, but it was. Mendenhall was averaging over four yards a carry. Why not feed him the ball to close the game? I swear, I just don't understand that guy.
What I do understand is that if the Steelers don't fire him by next week, they are going to have an even harder time getting to the Super Bowl. The guy doesn't know how to call a game, and he's only holding the team back.
Dick LeBeau didn't exactly have the best day, either. He didn't blitz nearly as much as last week, which allowed Fitzpatrick tons of time in the pocket to pick apart the Steelers.
If it weren't for timely turnovers by the defense, the Steelers would have lost this game. Since they did win, he avoids my wrath for another week.
Mike Tomlin must be seething right now. He did everything humanly possible to get the team focused, and they still stunk it up.
Now he needs to put this behind him and get ready for Baltimore next week.
Coaching gets a C-.
This was the ugliest win the Steelers have had all year. They need to go back to the lab and try to fix the mistakes they're making.
On offense, the line has got to stop holding. All these holding penalties are killing way too many promising drives, and it gives Arians more of an excuse to pass the ball a lot.
On defense, more blitzes. The more pressure they get, the better it is for the team. The turnovers are great, and they need to continue.
On special teams, plug up those holes in the coverage units. Field position will make all the difference next week.
On coaching, Arians needs to stop being so predictable and stick with what works. That will never happen, of course, but it doesn't hurt to say it, anyway.
On the injury front, from what I know now, Ben has some kind of foot injury. Bryant McFadden left the game with a hamstring injury and didn't return.
It seems like that Achilles injury is still bothering Troy. I saw him wincing in pain on the sideline after his crucial interception. Nick Eason had to go in for a few plays, but he returned. He has an MCL sprain.
Well, that will do it for this week. Ugly victory, but who said they all have to be pretty? The Steelers are 8-3 and in first place in the division—that is, until the Ravens beat the Bucs in a few minutes.
Big trip to Baltimore next week. The game could possibly decide who wins the division. Looking forward to a great AFC North showdown.
The overall grade for the Steelers this week is a C.