Pittsburgh Steelers All But End Buffalo Bills’ Playoff Hopes with 27-20 Win

Pittsburgh Steelers All But End Buffalo Bills’ Playoff Hopes with 27-20 Win

Overview

By Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Le’Veon Bell scored three times and set a franchise record with 236 yards rushing in finding traction on a slick, snow-covered field, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.

The Steelers overcame three interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger to win their fourth straight and improve to 8-5 and keep pace in the AFC playoff race. The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Bills (6-7) from contention, and puts them in jeopardy of extending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 years – the longest since New Orleans ended a 20-year drought by reaching the postseason for their first time in 1987.

After scoring in the first half on 3- and 7-yard runs, Bell put the game away on the opening drive of the third quarter. He had nine rushes for 72 yards alone and capped the 82-yard drive by waltzing into the end zone from 5 yards. Bell also had 62 yards receiving to account for 298 of the 460 yards gained by Pittsburgh. It was the second three-TD game of his career, and first in which he scored three times rushing.

Bell broke the franchise rushing record set by Willie Parker, who had 223 yards against Cleveland on Dec. 7, 2006. He also extended his streak to four-straight games with 100 yards or more rushing, a span in which he’s combined for 620 yards on the ground.

The Bills mustered no response on offense or defense at a time when both quarterback Tyrod Taylor and coach Rex Ryan are having their future in Buffalo questioned.

The Bills combined for seven first downs and 87 yards net offense on their first nine possessions. That included Sammy Watkins 8-yard touchdown catch set up by Stephon Gilmore returning Roethlisberger’s second interception to the Pittsburgh 7 midway through the second quarter.

Down 24-7, the Bills scored twice in the final 7:27 on Charles Clay’s 40-yard catch and LeSean McCoy’s 3-yard run with 1:25 left.

Taylor finished 15 of 25 for 228 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Ryan’s prized defense continued to struggle a week after Buffalo squandered a 24-9 third-quarter lead in a 38-24 loss at Oakland. Buffalo has now surrendered more than 200 yards rushing twice this season, including 256 in a 28-25 loss at Miami on Oct. 23, when Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi had 214 of those yards.

Bills sideline reporter Sal Capaccio spoke to Time Warner Cable News sports anchor Kevin Carroll about the game. Their Extra Points segment can be seen by clicking the video above.