ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills were big favorites heading into Sunday’s game against the Steelers. Everyone expected a lopsided performance and that’s exactly the way it played out. The Bills had a 10-3 lead after the first quarter but ended all doubt by outscoring the Steelers 21-0 in the second quarter. The Bills improve to 4-1 on the season and are back in first place in the division. Here are my 4 Observations from Sunday’s win:
Explosive Plays: For the most part this season, the Bills offense has been forced to take the long road to the endzone but they hit the Steelers with big play after big play. The Bills finished with game with 10 explosive plays of 15+ yards. Gabe Davis, who has struggled with an ankle injury, had two long touchdown grabs of 98 and 62 yards. The Bills were in attack mode from the start and never took the their foot off the pedal. Allen’s 4 touchdown passes were 98, 62, 24, and 15 yards.
The Phillips Factor: Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was back in the lineup after missing the last two games, and he made an impact. The veteran only had one tackle in the game, but that does not even begin to describe what he means to the defense. The Bills were missing key pieces up the middle (Edmunds and Poyer) but Phillips did a great job of swallowing up blockers, keeping Tyrel Dodson clean, allowing him to make plays. He’s also one of the emotional leaders of the defense. The defense has a different kind of juice when he’s on the field.
Rookie performances: The Bills got some mixed results from the first year players. The Steelers went after first round draft pick Kaiir Elam and he gave up several catches on third and long. Elam hung in there and was able to secure his first career interception. The Bills wide receiver group is banged up but Kahlil Shakir stepped in and played a big role with 3 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Running back James Cook picked his first career rushing touchdown in the win. Linebacker Terrel Bernard had 6 tackles.
Big numbers: Josh Allen’s 424 yards passing is a franchise record for a game that did not go to overtime. Stefon Diggs had 102 yards receiving, it’s the 12th time he’s gone for 100+ since joining the Bills. The defense shutout the Steelers in the second half. They’ve only allowed 7 points in the second half all season. Von Miller picked up his fourth sack of the season and is tied with Greg Rousseau for the team lead. The Bills defense held Najee Harris to 1.8 yards per carry.
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- Sullivan: Bills win but still searching for their old standard
Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more of his work here.