Bills offense stalling in the red zone was ‘the game right there’ in week one loss to Steelers


Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass kicks a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – It seems like the tone was set early for the Bills offense against the Steelers and not in a good way.

Bills fans were back at Highmark Stadium, it was a packed house for the first time since 2019, the place was rocking, Isaiah McKenzie takes the opening kickoff 75 yards, here comes Josh Allen, the runner up league MVP…and the offense goes three and out.

That was deflating.

The Bills had to settle for a field goal after McKenzie gave them great field position right out of the gate. From there the offense just never got in a rhythm as the next four drives were three straight punts and a lost fumble.

“At the end of the day we stalled there in the fringe of the red zone and we missed on a couple of those short yardage opportunities and that’s the game against a really good defense that holds opponents to usually 300 yards or less in most of their games. We have to capitalize on those opportunities and we all have to do a better job,” Bills defensive coordinator Brian Daboll said on Monday.

They also went for it twice on fourth down and both times failed to convert. The second play was a disaster as Josh Allen pitched it back to Matt Breida and the Steelers defense read it perfectly as Cameron Sutton tackled him for a loss of seven.

“We’re trying to call plays that give us a chance here and maybe spring a big one. They did a good job. We motioned 19 across and he stayed and you know they got us. We’re trying to be aggressive there and certainly you’d like to have all those calls back that quite don’t work out the way you hoped but we’re trying to be aggressive,” Daboll explained.

Pittsburgh has one of the best front fours in the NFL, arguably the best. The Steelers sacked Josh Allen three times and hit him eight. Even more impressive, they did it mostly on just those three or four man rushes.

“Give credit to the Steelers, give credit to coach Butler and the players that they got. You know they’re hard to deal with so it’s something that we work on every week. We’re gonna have to work on it this week but give credit to those guys. They’re a really good defense,” Daboll said.

Yes, Pittsburgh’s defense is dominant. But the Bills offense simply did not execute and take advantage of when they were within striking distance, which they had those chances more than enough times.

“That’s the game right there, I mean look there’s plays here and there throughout the game that you’re gonna hit, you’re gonna miss but 1 for 4 in the red zone when we’re down there and we’re settling that’s hard to win a game particularly against a defense like that.”

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