After a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers to start the season, the Buffalo Bills got some stern words from their defensive captain.
Buffalo had been favored to beat the Steelers, but instead started the season with a crushing loss after Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh’s aggressive defense and special teams pounced on a series of Bills mistakes in the second half to win 23-16. After the game, one of the team’s leaders spoke out about the need to improve.
The latest Bills news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bills newsletter here!
Bills Plagued by Errors
The Bills were able to move beyond a slow start to the game, managing a 91-yard touchdown drive late in the second quarter to take a 10-0 lead into halftime. But the mistakes mounted in the second half, with the Bills missing a pair of fourth-down conversions to hand Roethlisberger strong field position and allow the Steelers to score 20 unanswered points. The Steelers also blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown, providing what would eventually be the winning margin.
After the game, Bills safety Micah Hyde was blunt in his assessment of the team’s performance, hinting that the Bills won’t be Super Bowl contenders if they keep making those kinds of mistakes.
“If we want to take the next step, we can’t let that stuff happen,” he said after the game, via The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.
Fellow safety Jordan Poyer, who like Hyde is one of the team’s captains, said that the Bills simply didn’t play up to their potential.
“We understand that we’re a good football team, and we understand that we’re a better football team than we were today,” he said, via Buscaglia.
The Bills had a total of eight penalties for 81 yards, with many of them coming as the offensive line tried to slow Pittsburgh’s aggressive pass rush. Still, the Bills struggled to keep T.J. Watt out of the backfield, allowing him to hit Allen five times including two sacks and a forced fumble.
As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, the mistakes came in all phases of the game and even some of the veterans struggled, including All Pro Tre’Davious White.
“Cornerback Levi Wallace allowed a touchdown and he took multiple pass interference penalties,” Wojton noted. “Even Tre’Davious White negated his own interception with a holding penalty, which could have changed the game.”
Bills Look to Bounce Back
Though the loss may have stung, the Bills now have a chance to make a quick turnaround and assert themselves in the AFC East. Buffalo travels to Miami for a Week 2 matchup between the top teams in the division last year, with the Bills potentially able to move back into first place with a win.
After Sunday’s loss, both Hyde and Poyer expressed confidence that the team would be able to move beyond the loss to the Steelers, Buscaglia noted.
The Bills have responded to adversity well during head coach Sean McDermott’s tenure. After losing to the Arizona Cardinals on a Hail Mary last season, the Bills responded with eight consecutive victories before finally falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.