Strong second half lifts Steelers over Bills 23-16 in season opener

NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — With Highmark Stadium full of screaming Bills fans, the Buffalo Bills sputtered and opened up the 2021 NFL season with a 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was the battle of two dominant defenses this afternoon, but one offense outplayed the other.

Pittsburgh amassed just 53 yards of total offense in the entire first half of the game, and the Buffalo defense kept the Steelers off the board until the third quarter.

But Pittsburgh put together a dominant second half of play. The Steelers scored 20 unanswered points, scoring a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to take the lead, then blocking a Bills punt and returning it back for the score to take the lead.

Even though the Bills finished with 120 more offensive yards than the Steelers (371 to 251), Pittsburgh’s defense held Buffalo to just six points in the entire second half.

Penalties also hurt the Bills – 8 for 81 yards – with three penalties coming in the Bills final drive of the game alone (one was declined).

All in all, it was a sloppy start to the season for Buffalo, and though there were glimpses of the dominant Bills offense of 2020, a lot of mistakes were made on the offensive side of the ball in the season opener.

The Bills travel to Miami next week.

Game Highlights

1Q — Isaiah McKenzie fielded the opening kickoff and took it back 75-yards. The Bills were unable to get a first down, but used the great field position to kick a 37-yard field goal courtesy of Tyler Bass. 3-0 Bills.

2Q — Bills in Steelers territory, on third down Josh Allen rolls out but is sacked by TJ Watt. Allen fumbles the ball, and it’s recovered by Pittsburgh on their own 38-yard line.

2Q — Buffalo takes it 91-yards down the field, featuring a huge 37-yard pass and catch from Allen to Gabriel Davis, and caps off the drive with a dart to Davis in the back of the end zone for the score. 10-0 Bills.

3Q — Steelers get on the board for the first time all game with a 24-yard field goal. 10-3 Bills.

3Q — The Buffalo defense steps up and keeps Pittsburgh out of the end zone, and forces the Steelers to kick a 20-yard field goal. 10-6 Bills.

4Q — Following a turnover on downs by Buffalo, the Steelers find the end zone for the first time of the game when Ben Roethlisberger connects with Diontae Johnson for the TD. 13-10 Steelers.

4Q — Pittsburgh blocks a Matt Haack punt on the 15-yard line and returns it for the touchdown. 20-10 Steelers.

4Q — Buffalo takes it 67-yards down the field, with 46 of those yards coming from three consecutive Devin Singletary runs, but the Bills end the drive with a 25-yard field goal. 20-13 Steelers.

4Q — Pittsburgh extends the lead to 10 points when Boswell crushes a 45-yard field goal. 23-13 Steelers.

4Q — Bass kicks a 42-yard field goal with 46 seconds left in the game. 23-16 Steelers.

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