Saturday, August 25, 2012
Observation deck: Bills-Steelers
By James Walker
The Buffalo Bills had their third and most important game of the preseason Saturday night. The Steelers won 38-7.
Here are some notes and observations:
What I liked: The Bills finally started fast, and they did it against a good team. Buffalo took its second drive 49 yards on five plays and briefly showed the kind of offense it can be in the regular season. Fred Jackson capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams also showed by the Bills gave him a $100 million contract with a pair of sacks. It's good momentum for Williams heading into the regular season.
What I didn’t like: Preseason or not, I don't like the fact that Buffalo gave up 38 unanswered points at home. I know these games don't count, and I know it was 14-7 at halftime with the starters. But the Bills should have more depth and pride than to let it get this out of hand. The Steelers pounded the Bills after Buffalo's only touchdown. Pittsburgh forced three turnovers and had 21 points off turnovers. The Bills are winless this preseason, which might not matter. But at times, the Bills have appeared to play as though they know they can turn it on when it matters. That's a dangerous game. The Bills haven't proven they know how to win.
Inconsistent Young: Buffalo backup quarterback Vince Young did a great job in the second preseason game to establish himself as the favorite to backup starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Young took a step back against the Steelers. Young was 12-of-26 for 103 yards and two interceptions. He had a passer rating of 25.0 and made some mistakes a veteran with plenty of starting experience should not make. Young had a chance to finalize his backup status but didn't. He left the door open for Tyler Thigpen to try to make another push in the final week.
McGee makes his case: Buffalo cornerback Terrence McGee was concerned this summer that his knee might not be healthy enough in time to show he deserves a roster spot. But the veteran is feeling better and had a good performance against Pittsburgh, making four tackles and two for a loss. He can help Buffalo’s young corners if he stays healthy. But the Bills have to make a tough decision in the next week due to the injury risk.
What's next: The Bills play their final preseason game Thursday against the Detroit Lions. This will be just a survival game, one Buffalo hopes to escape without major injuries ahead of the regular-season opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 9 at MetLife Stadium.