Run game fails Bills vs. Steelers
By Chris Harlan
Published: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
With third-and-goal at the 1-yard line, the second-best rushing team in the AFC had its rookie quarterback throw into the end zone.
The pass was incomplete, and the Buffalo Bills settled for a field goal.
“You always want the ball down there,” said Bills running back Fred Jackson, who had gained 6 yards on first down but only 2 yards on second. “You always want an opportunity to score points. But that's the play that we went with.”
Facing a Steelers run defense that's among the NFL's worst statistically, Buffalo couldn't rely on the run. The Bills rushed for 95 yards on 22 carries Sunday in a 23-10 loss at Heinz Field, unable to duplicate the 241-yard output their backs had last week.
Jackson had 55 yards on 12 carries. C.J. Spiller had 23 yards on eight.
It hurt that rookie quarterback EJ Manuel struggled on a windy afternoon. Manuel, who'd missed four weeks with a sprained knee, completed 22 of 39 passes for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Bills had averaged 145.8 rushing yards. But the stretch runs that worked against Kansas City didn't work this week.
Buffalo's longest run was 11 yards by Jackson.
“We'd shown how effective we could be at that,” Bills center Eric Wood said, “and they did a good job defending it.”
The Steelers had allowed an average of 131.2 yards, inflated by 197-yard efforts by Oakland and New England the past two weeks.
“You'd seen that they were giving up some rushing yards,” Jackson said. “What (caused) it was they were out of their gaps. They did a tremendous job today making sure they weren't.”
The Steelers are 0-6 this season when allowing 100 rushing yards. They're 3-0 when they don't.
“We tried to bounce too many things outside, which is always difficult to do against this defense,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said.
The Bills twice chose to pass on third-and-1. The first was at the goal line on their first possession. Trailing 10-3 in the third quarter, Manuel again threw incomplete at Buffalo's 37.
“One-on-one with Stevie (Johnson) outside we felt was a good matchup for us,” Wood of the goal-line throw.
But the second he attributed to a lack of confidence.
“We hadn't run the ball as effectively as we wanted to,” Wood said, “(so) your number is not going to get called.”
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Despite many moves, Steelers’ depth still a work in progress
- Steelers take flier on ex-Colts WR Heyward-Bey
- 3 more college players visit Steelers ahead of NFL Draft
- Steelers get familiar exhibition opponents
- Steelers sign former Texas cornerback McCain
- NFL, players union turn attention to respect, conduct in workplace