PITTSBURGH (WIVB) — There weren’t many positives to take away from the Bills’ second preseason game. The Steelers outplayed the Bills in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. The Bills were undisciplined, turned the ball over and looked like they were going through the motions. A pair of rookies looked strong in their first road test. Here are my 4 observations from the loss in Pittsburgh:
Costly penalties, turnovers
The refs spent more time waving yellow than Steelers fans. The amount of penalties and turnovers was out of control. The Bills collected 13 flags for 93 yards. Pittsburgh has one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL and forced the Bills offensive line (Dawkins, McGovern, Brown) into holding and false start calls. The starting O-line was guilty of four penalties and at one point they were flagged on three plays in a row. Turnovers were also an issue, as Matt Barkley tossed three interceptions and fumbled once.
Josh Allen, starting offense sees game action
Josh Allen made his preseason debut. The Bills starting quarterback played in the entire 1st quarter and was 7/10 for 64 yards. Two of Allen’s completions went to Stefon Diggs who was also playing in his first preseason game. He also hooked up Gabe Davis for a pair of 1st downs. Allen, Diggs and Davis looked smooth and their biggest accomplishment in the preseason is to stay healthy; mission accomplished. Dawson Knox did not play due to a finger injury and is day-to-day.
Rookies put in solid shifts
There weren’t many bright spots to point to but the rookies held up nicely in their first road game. Josh Allen’s first completion of the game went to tight end Dalton Kincaid who finished with 3 catches for 45 yards and looked like a mismatch for the Steelers defense. O’Cyrus Torrence got the start at right guard again and left the game when the starters were pulled from the game. Torrence put together another strong performance. Ryan Bates entered the game at center for Mitch Morse in the 2nd quarter. It sure seems like he’s locked up the starting job at right guard.
Who’s No. 2?
After the game, Sean McDermott said the backup quarterback position is up for grabs heading into the final preseason game in Chicago. Matt Barkley put together a strong showing in the preseason opener and earned a chance to play with the second team against the Steelers but really struggled. Barkley forced several throws, was intercepted three times and fumbled once. Kyle Allen entered the game midway through the third quarter and played much better than he did against the Colts. Kyle was 12/15 for 112 yards with a touchdown and — most importantly — he didn’t turn the ball over.
Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.