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Instant analysis, game recap of Bills’ playoff win over the Steelers

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Wild Card playoff action 31-17.

The game, delayed over 24 hours from its original kickoff time due to massive snowstorms that traveled through Western New York over the weekend, was a great continuation of the Bills late-season surge. Including the playoffs, Buffalo has won its last six contests.

Buffalo’s offense started blazing hot, moving down the field with little resistance on their first drive. Dawson Knox scored on a corner route to finish off a 10-play drive.

Buffalo’s defense made the first big play between the two defensive units. Cornerback Taron Johnson forced a fumble from Steelers wide receiver George Pickens. Terrel Bernard recovered the fumble in Pittsburgh territory.

On the next play, Allen delivered a perfect pass to Dalton Kincaid. Kincaid got depth behind Steelers linebackers for the 29-yard score.

The Bills defense followed this up with another big play. Pittsburgh’s offense finally started to gain some traction, moving the ball efficiently through the air and on the ground. Steelers quarterback looked to get Pittsburgh on the board with a pass to the edge of the end zone. Kaiir Elam turned and snagged the ball to halt the drive.

Buffalo responded with an eight-play scoring drive culminating with a spectacular run by Josh Allen. Allen broke out of the pocket and rumbled 52 yards through defenders to give Buffalo a three-touchdown lead.

Pittsburgh gained some life with a big special teams play. The Steelers blocked a Tyler Bass field goal attempt from 49 yards out. The ball rolled back into Buffalo territory, and Pittsburgh took control at the Bills 33-yard line.

The Steelers ran through an efficient five-play series to get on the board. Dionte Johnson found a pocket in the Bills secondary and scored on a 10-yard reception. Buffalo entered halftime up 21-7.

Pittsburgh’s offense moved the ball well on their initial possession of the second half. The Bills defense, however, forced an incompletion on third-and-nine to stop the drive. Kicker Chris Boswell was successful from 40 yards to reduce the deficit to 11 points.

Buffalo committed to the run on the next drive. The Bills started the drive with six running plays. Buffalo had some success moving the ball, but Pittsburgh’s defense tightened up and forced a Tyler Bass field goal. This time, Bass was good from 45 yards out, giving Buffalo a two-touchdown lead once again. The drive took over seven minutes off the clock.

Pittsburgh hung tight, responding with a 12-play touchdown drive. Once again, the Steelers leaned on a combination of run plays and intermediate passes to move the ball down the field. Calvin Austin found a spot ahead of cornerback Cam Lewis for the reception. With over 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Steelers clawed their way back within one score.

Buffalo tacked on another score, this time with a spectacular run-after-catch by Khalil Shakir. Shakir broke a Minkah Fitzpatrick tackle at the 15-yard-line and then weaved his way through the Steelers defense. The drive featured several runs by Allen and Cook to extend the series.

Buffalo’s defense slammed the door shut on the next drive. On fourth-and-free, Dane Jackson broke up a pass to Pickens, effectively ending any sort of comeback bid by the Steelers.

Keys to the game

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
  • Buffalo’s offense got off to a great start. The opening drive seemed very easy for the Bills, as they moved the ball easily on their way to a Dawson Knox touchdown. Buffalo continued with a quick one-play scoring drive, as Allen found Dalton Kincaid over the middle for an easy touchdown. Josh Allen made a spectacular play, rushing for 52 yards to put Buffalo up by three scores. There was little worry that Pittsburgh’s offense could keep up with this scoring.

  • Josh Allen. Once again, he was the best player on the field. His decisions were perfect all-game long. When necessary, Allen put the team on his back. The 52-yard touchdown run was nothing short of exceptional. Allen was responsible for four touchdowns on the day.

  • The Bills defense was tremendous in the first half, forcing multiple turnovers. Taron Johnson forced a fumble to put the ball back into Allen’s hands. Kaiir Elam responded nicely with an interception. The play followed a defensive pass interference call against Elam.

  • Defensively, Buffalo kept everything in front of them. The Steelers had only big play: a 33-yard pass to tight end Pat Friermuth.

  • Pittsburgh was successful moving the ball when they called a mix of run plays with intermediate pass plays. When Mason Rudolph threw the ball on time, the Steelers had some success on offense. However, this was largely inconsistent with the pressure from the Bills defense.

  • Buffalo’s run game helped control the game as the second half progressed. James Cook and Josh Allen were the focal point of the running game, moving the ball efficiently when the passing game had moments of struggle. Ty Johnson helped close out the game in the fourth quarter.

 

 

Ouick hits

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
  • Allen’s 52-yard touchdown run was the longest rush of his career.

  • The touchdown passes to Knox and Kincaid constituted the first time two tight ends caught touchdown passes in the first quarter of a playoff game.

  • AJ Klein led the Bills with 10 total tackles.

  • Greg Rousseau recorded Buffalo’s only sack.

  • Stefon Diggs led Buffalo with seven receptions. Kincaid led the Bills with 59 receiving yards.

  • Cook ran 18 times for 79 yards to lead Buffalo on the ground.

What's next?

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Buffalo will play Kansas City on Sunday night at Highmark Stadium in a Divisional round matchup. This is the third consecutive season that the Bills and Chiefs played each other during the regular season and the postseason. This is the first game in Buffalo between the two teams over the past five matchups.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire