In a rivalry that has gone on for years, though not played every year. The Pittsburgh Steelers have enjoyed a good friend/enemy relationship with the Buffalo Bills. In week 15 they met in what would be an important match for both teams. Let’s break down how it went.
The Steelers defense has been running high, due to aggressive play by team leader TJ Watt and many others. The Steelers have always been known as a defensive team, and while no group has matched the power of the 70s-era Steel Curtain. The current group of high spirited and strong players certainly have made a name for themselves.
While the Bills have been playing strongly in other games, the Steelers defense was able to hold them to a mere 17 points. If other parts fell into place this would have been more than enough coverage to let the Steelers win.
The Steelers have had an emotional roller coaster of a year to be certain. However, they have overcome a lot of obstacles to still be in the hunt for a playoff berth. One of the consistently bad problems they have though is getting down either in or close to the red zone and walking away with only three points. While Chris Boswell seems to have his groove back and is doing much better than when he almost lost his position last year. No team can win consistently relying only on field goals.
Steelers fans knew the second week of the season that many parts of this season were going to be ugly. Losing the elite Ben Roethlisberger was like an open wound. Now at the helm is the talented but unexperienced Devlin Hodges. This week’s game showed how that inexperience hurt his performance. With the Bills strong defense collapsing the pocket and making him scramble. Hodges was visibly shaken and frustrated as he had no time to collect himself. The more frustrated he got, the more rookie mistakes he made.
However, the mistakes he was making were in no small part made because of the play calling from Randy Fichtner. He is being played too conservatively, especially in the last quarter of the game when points need to be put on the board. The combination of play calls and quarterback pressure ended up leading to four interceptions thrown by Hodges. The last one with six seconds left in the game in the end zone, thus ending the game for the Steelers.
No matter what happens going forward from here, the Steelers have given it their all under difficult circumstances. However, they are still not out of it, but they have to take their destiny in their own hands and win both games left in the season for a guaranteed spot. Otherwise, they will have to play the waiting game and see if enough other teams lose to keep them in. The next game will be against the New York Jets this Sunday. Hodges will need to step up and take control of the team’s momentum to keep them going forward.
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