The Buffalo Bills are going to the playoffs.
Buffalo clinched a postseason spot and remained one game back of the New England Patriots in the AFC East with a 17-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field. The Bills are 10-4 after Josh Allen and their dominant defense spearheaded the winning effort and helped the team bounce back from a loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
As for Pittsburgh, it is still tied with the Tennessee Titans for the final AFC wild-card spot at 8-6 even though its three-game winning streak came to an end.
Notable Fantasy Stats
- BUF QB Josh Allen: 13-of-25 passing for 139 yards, one touchdown and one interception; seven carries for 28 yards and 1 touchdown
- BUF RB Devin Singletary: 21 carries for 87 yards
- BUF WR John Brown: seven catches for 99 yards
- PIT QB Devlin Hodges: 23-of-38 for 202 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions
- PIT RB James Conner: eight carries for 42 yards; four catches for nine yards and one touchdown
- PIT WR James Washington: five catches for 83 yards
Bills Defense Overwhelms Overmatched Devlin Hodges
It is no surprise the matchup between Buffalo's defense and Pittsburgh's offense tilted toward the visitors.
Entering play, the Bills were third in the league in yards allowed per game and second in points allowed per game. They kept Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and even Lamar Jackson (145 passing yards) in relative check and had a shot at Devlin Hodges, who failed to throw for even 200 yards in two of his previous three starts.
Hodges' nightmare started right away.
He threw an interception to Tre'Davious White on his team's opening possession, and Pittsburgh managed a mere three points in the entire first half. The Steelers came close to the end zone in the first half following a Steven Nelson interception, but Trent Murphy forced a fumble that Jordan Poyer recovered.
Despite the inauspicious start, it appeared as if the Steelers would seize control in the second half after they took the lead until White made his presence known again with an interception and long return to set up a tying field goal.
It was a monster, game-changing play from White and set the tone for the defense coming through with the outcome hanging in the balance.
Buffalo's pressure was relentless after it took the lead in the fourth quarter, forcing a three-and-out and snuffing out a promising drive with a Poyer interception in the end zone. Pittsburgh had one more chance, but Levi Wallace intercepted a desperation heave to the end zone.
Winning in Pittsburgh is never easy, regardless of who is under center, and the Bills sent a message to the rest of the AFC. Their defense travels and can take over a game at any time with key sacks, a run-stuffing presence up the middle and a ball-hawking secondary. That formula will play in the postseason.
Bills Offense Shows Up Just in Time
Buffalo's offense failing to live up to its defense's high bar has been a theme against the best competition.
It held the Patriots to 16 points and the explosive Ravens to 24 points but managed just 10 and 17 points in the respective contests. It appeared as if the same thing was going to happen Sunday when James Conner bounced off a tackle and scored to help put Pittsburgh up 10-7 in the second half, especially since the first Bills touchdown came because of a short field on a botched punt.
All it took was one impressive fourth-quarter drive to change the narrative.
Allen found John Brown on a deep ball, Devin Singletary sliced through Pittsburgh's defense into the red zone and Tyler Kroft hauled in the winning touchdown with less than eight minutes remaining.
Brown in particular torched Pittsburgh's secondary a number of times when the Steelers had to put additional defenders in the box to account for Singletary and Allen running, and it was fitting his 40-yard catch set up the touchdown.
The Bills aren't going to win many games with their offense, but they proved they can come through in the clutch when needed against Pittsburgh.
Both teams are on the road in Week 16. Pittsburgh faces the New York Jets, while Buffalo plays the Patriots in a critical divisional showdown.