Steelers @ Bills
Final Score: Buffalo Bills 38, Pittsburgh Steelers 3
Writer: Chuck Steele @ChuckSteele_T2T on Twitter)
If you just looked at Josh Allen’s stat line you’d think this game was a shootout! However, Allen was dropping bombs in a blowout. Bills offense continued their dominance as they manhandled the Steelers and had the game well wrapped up by halftime, bringing a rough welcome to Kenny Pickett on his first start in the NFL. You may have thought early that maybe this game can be a close one, as the Steelers were in it 10-3 after the first quarter. However, Allen and the Bills weren’t having any of that, pouring it on in the second quarter for 21 points while the defense pitched a shutout for the rest of the game. Allen was eventually pulled from the action with the game well out of hand at 38-3 in the fourth. Pickett’s welcome to the NFL wasn’t so welcoming, but the Pickett to Pickens era seems to have some potential. The Steelers and their new leader will be looking for a better outcome next weekend.
Kenny Pickett: 34/52, 327 Yards, INT | 1 Carry, 10 Yards
Rookie Kenny Pickett got his first NFL start Sunday afternoon, facing a red-hot Bills defense that wanted to give him a warm welcome. Let’s say Kenny Pickett felt the heat. On his first drive, he seemed rather composed, taking the team downfield, and even converting a 3rd-and-11 where he hit fellow rookie George Pickens on the sidelines for the first down. The drive eventually stalled when Pickett found Diontae Johnson on the sideline, but Jonhson could not get his second foot down for the completion. The team settled for a field goal and never scored after that. Pickett still showed promise for the rest of the game. Though most of his passes were simple short passes, for having to throw over 50 times in his first start, he took care of the ball for the most part only throwing one interception on the day, right before halftime as a Bills defender jumped up on a lower throw for an easy pick. Despite the rough outing on the scoreboard, Kenny Pickett showed the Steelers faithful some promise in their new quarterback.
Jaylen Warren: 5 Carries, 24 Yards | 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 39 Yards
Najee Harris: 11 Carries, 20 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 16 Yards
Derek Watt: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 1 Yard
The Steelers only attempted 16 rushes in this one, as the Steelers faced a significant deficit early on this one. Even when Najee Harris had his number called, he was often met at the scrimmage line with his linemen giving him nothing to work with. Harris only tallied 20 yards against the stifling Bills front, on his 11 carries. It was not much but Jaylen Warren made the most of his carries turning in a tune of a 4.8 average with his five carries. The running backs found involvement in the passing game, though there weren’t any major contributions from them either. Najee Harris continues to underperform this season, leaving the Steelers, and many of the fantasy managers who spent a first-round pick on him, disappointed.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
George Pickens: 8 Targets, 6 Receptions, 83 Yards
Diontae Johnson: 13 Targets, 5 Receptions, 60 Yards
Chase Claypool: 9 Targets, 5 Receptions, 50 Yards
Zach Gentry: 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 43 Yards
Connor Heyward: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 12 Yards
Pat Freiermuth: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 12 Yards
Miles Boykin: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 11 Yards
The Steelers wide receivers had themselves a long and busy day, and even in a game when the offense didn’t find the endzone, they at least gave solid performances. Rookie wideout George Pickens led the team in yardage today with 83 as he continues to show off his freak strength and ability, making big plays down the field. None may have been as beautiful when Pickett unloaded deep and Pickens jumped up in front of his defender, going up with two strong hands above his head, holding on as two defenders took him down.
Diontae Johnson came second in the team on yards finishing with 60 yards on five receptions, but Steelers WR1 was targeted a team-high 13 times. Johnson had the chance for more receptions, but with football being the game of inches that is, he had a few called no caught ruled out of bounce. Chase Claypool saw a season-high nine targets, pulling in five for 50 yards. Claypool didn’t make any big plays but played more of a safety blanket for Pickett, finding consistent five- to six-yard catches and turning them up first downs.
Zach Gentry lead the tight end unit today, having his best game of the year. Playing another check-down option for Pittsburgh, Gentry won’t see many games like the five receptions and 83 yards he had today.
Josh Allen: 20/31, 424 Yards, 4 TD, INT | 5 Carries, 42 Yards
Case Keenum: 2/5, 8 Yards | 2 Carries, -2 Yards
Josh Allen must have heard it was spooky season, causing terror to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Allen played three quarters really and still put up numbers most teams need all game to do. It started early, as Allen and Bills started the day at the two-yard line due to mishandling on a kick return. On 3rd down, Allen throws a beautifully placed deep ball, hitting Gabe Davis at the 40-yard line in stride as he had a step on two defenders, taking it the rest of the way for the score. He found the wideout for another deep bomb for a 62-yard touchdown. It was almost a hat trick as Allan looked the way of Davis in the second quarter. Going for a fade in the endzone, Allen underthrows the ball enough that the defender turned, jumped, and made the pick in the endzone, the only turnover by the quarterback.
It wasn’t just Davis though, Allen was able to throw a touchdown to a total of three different receivers in the game while targeting five receivers five times each. He might have a favorite in Stefon Diggs, but he certainly doesn’t play favorites. What’s even better and Allen’s ability and toughness to take off when nothing is open, adding 42 yards on five carries. Josh Allen continues to stake his claim for MVP with even bigger goals in mind.
Case Keenum relieved Allen in the fourth, completing two passes for eight yards. This was the second time this season Keenum saw time due to the game being out of hand early.
Devin Singletary: 6 Carries, 42 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 4 Yards
James Cook: 4 Carries, 31 Yards, TD
Zack Moss: 1 Carry, 7 Yards
It was the Josh Allen show, and even with the game well out of hand the Buffalo backs didn’t get much of the pie. Devin Singletary seems to be a good fit for this pass-heavy buffalo attack. Hitting the holes with speed and strength Singletary is proving to be the lead back buffalo needs. He took his six carries for 42 yards, both were team highs.
However, it was James Cook who secured his first NFL touchdown, getting most of his production on the day on his 24-yard score on the ground early in the fourth quarter. Zack Moss got one carry for seven yards.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Gabe Davis: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 171 Yards, 2 TD
Stefon Diggs: 11 Targets, 8 Receptions, 102 Yards, TD
Khalil Shakir: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 75 Yards, TD
Isaiah Hodgins: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 41 Yards
Quintin Morris: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 39 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)
Tanner Gentry: 1 Target
The Bills’ receiving core put on a show today, as they lit up the Steelers’ secondary all game long. It started right from the get-go, with Buffalo backed up to the 2-yard line to start the game, Allen found Gabe Davis down the field. Having a step on the defender Allen hit him in stride, as he took the distance for a 98-yard touchdown. That wasn’t all, as Davis made a spectacular one-handed catch over his shoulder going into the endzone, with a man playing tight coverage. Davis had one reception after that for the rest of the game. Gabe Davis might want to consider being Randy Moss for Halloween, as he took three receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Don’t let those two big plays cast a shadow on Stefon Diggs, as he was also electric per usual. Diggs didn’t put up big plays like Davis but was consistent all through the night. Seeing a team-high in targets, Diggs secured eight for 102 yards, making it the third time this season he hit the century mark. Midway through the second, Diggs was found in the endzone on a slant in the middle for a 15-yard score, his fifth in as many games.
Khalil Shakir looked good on his three receptions. His first reception came deep on a 31-yard reception jumping up between three defenders to make the catch. His second catch was his first NFL touchdown, a 24-yard reception where Shakir had his man beat to the endzone. Even on his third catch, he showed his ability to run after the catch for a nice 20-yard catch and run. Issah Hodgins took four of his six targets for 40 yards.