ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.: Payments safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer had a parting message as they exited the postgame interview room following Buffalo’s season-opening dud.
Loads of video games left, Hyde shouted.
No panic, Poyer added.
Defiant as they could have sounded, the sky-high expectations the Payments had getting into the season took a big hit following a 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a showdown of defending AFC division champions.
Although the protection was sound in limiting the Steelers to 16 factors (Pittsburgh additionally scored off a blocked punt), it was the Josh Allen-led offense that proved pedestrian.
A yr after breaking quite a few single-season passing and scoring data, the league’s second-most productive assault managed simply 16 factors to match a season low final yr by scoring only one landing and three area objectives regardless of having eight of 11 drives cross midfield.
Allen accomplished 30 of 51 passes for 270 yards and a landing however was out of sync, together with his 21 incompletions matching the second-highest complete of his four-year profession.
Clearly its not what we hope for, what we try for, how we wish to begin the season, Allen mentioned. Thats why have been taking part in 17 (video games). Weren’t anticipating to win all of them. We go into every sport anticipating to win, however we perceive that its an extended season. Loads to study from this tape, actually beginning with me.
The Payments had no solutions for the Steelers protection and its relentless T.J.-Watt led cross rush. Regardless of utilizing solely three or 4 rushers on the line of scrimmage, the Steelers repeatedly made life uneasy for Allen, who was pressured to maneuver and scramble out of the pocket. Buffalos offensive line by no means discovered its footing and had six holding penalties.
Thats simply a type of issues that may come all the way down to accountability, middle Mitch Morse mentioned. The unlucky factor is that a lot of the holding calls got here with chunk performs. So not solely did we go backward, however this sport is a sport of momentum, and for essentially the most half we sort of shot ourselves within the foot.
The offense misfired on the kind of performs it grew to become recognized for in 2020.
Early within the sport, Allen overthrew a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders on a deep ball that may have gone for a landing. Allen additionally missed Stefon Diggs deep.
Then got here what seemed to be a poorly designed fourth-and-1 try to open the fourth quarter through which Matt Breida caught a lateral and misplaced 7 yards, which instantly led to Ben Roethlisberger placing the Steelers forward for good with a 5-yard landing cross to Diontae Johnson.
On Buffalo’s subsequent possession, Sanders had the ball punched out of his arms for what would’ve been a 20-yard acquire, and the Payments drive ended with Watt dropping Allen for a 6-yard loss on third down. Matt Haack’s punt was then blocked by Miles Killebrew, with Ulysees Gilbert scooping up the unfastened ball and returning it 9 yards for a landing.
Whether or not or not it’s first-game nerves or jitters or feeling stuff with my ft, Ive received to play higher, Ive received to be higher, Allen mentioned. I do know that. Once more, have been going to study from this. Weren’t going to panic. Its 16 video games left. We all know what we have to do. Have been going to take a look at the movie and work and attempt to get higher.
One constructive for the Payments was their defensive efficiency.
After Buffalos protection largely struggled in 2020, the Payments held Roethlisberger in examine for a lot of the sport. The Steelers had simply 53 yards and three first downs within the first half..
Total, you maintain a staff to 16 factors should you take away the blocked punt, coach Sean McDermott mentioned. I assumed general defensively, they usually have been in some robust positions, they performed exhausting they usually did some good issues.
After repeatedly exhibiting the power to beat adversity and bounce again final season, the Payments consider they’ve the best mindset and group of gamers to do it once more.
Weve been right here earlier than, McDermott mentioned. Its one sport. I do know the expectations are excessive and that comes with the territory. … Give credit score the place credit due. Mike Tomlin and his staff got here in right here and outcoached us and outplayed us, and I give them credit score. Weve received to study from this as coaches and as gamers and get ourselves able to go.
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