Steelers pull out 19-16 OT win over Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—Buffalo's Stevie Johnson sat with his head down at the end of the bench as Shaun Suisham hit a 41-yard field goal with 2:14 left in overtime to secure the Pittsburgh Steelers' 19-16 victory over the Bills on Sunday.
The wide receiver was upset because he could've ended the game in the Bills' favor on the previous possession by dropping what would have been a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"I had the game in my hands and I dropped it," Johnson said. "I'm humbled."
In a game the Bills (2-9) proved they're not all that bad, the Steelers (8-3) showed why they're better.
Suisham hit all four of his field-goal attempts, including a 48-yarder. His decisive kick capped a 13-play, 58-yard drive which Ben Roethlisberger kept alive by hitting Mike Wallace for a 17-yard catch to convert third-and-8.
Rashard Mendenhall had 151 yards rushing and scored on a 1-yard plunge in helping Pittsburgh prepare for a AFC North first-place showdown at Baltimore next weekend. Hines Ward had seven catches for 107 yards, and Roethlisberger finished 20 of 33 for 246 yards
Buffalo proved feisty in facing one of the NFL's elite teams by overcoming a 13-point first-half deficit and forcing overtime with 2 seconds left in regulation when Rian Lindell hit a 49-yard field goal. Fred Jackson had five catches for 105 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown, and added 59 yards rushing.
The Bills had a two-game win streak snapped. Each of their past four losses have been by 3 points, including two in overtime, after they lost 37-34 at Baltimore on Oct. 24, and 13-10 at Kansas City the following week.
The Bills were also coming off a 49-31 win at Cincinnati, in which they overcame a 21-point first-half deficit.
The wild finish against the Steelers was nothing compared to how lopsided the game was after the first 30 minutes.
The Steelers dominated the entire first half in which they had edge in score, 13-0, time of possession (23 minutes, 55 seconds to 6:05), first downs (18-4) and yards offense (225-51).
The Bills took the Steelers' best shot and then punched back to make a game of it in the second half.
The game's complexion changed late in the third quarter and with the Steelers up 13-0. That's when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison broke in untouched and, with his head lowered, struck Fitzpatrick just beneath the chin just as the quarterback got off a pass.
Harrison was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer -- and faces another potential fine from the NFL for leading with his helmet. Though knocked a little woozy, Fitzpatrick responded by hitting Jackson for his 65-yard touchdown catch and run.
The score gave the Bills life, as they eventually tied it at 13 when Lindell hit two field goals 2:07 apart -- the second set up after Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd stopped Mendenhall of the ball at the Steelers 23.
Ahead 16-13, The Steelers got a big defensive play from Troy Polamalu, who made a diving interception at the goal line after Fitzpatrick's pass bounced off Johnson's fingertips with 2:51 left in regulation.
The Steelers couldn't finish Buffalo off.
The Bills got the ball back with 46 seconds left, and at the Steelers 46 after Keyaron Fox was penalized 15 yards for a late hit on the ensuing punt.
The Steelers were penalized 10 times for 107 yards.
The game was sold out, with a very large contingent of Steelers fans making the 3-hour trip north. Thousands of Terrible Towels were waving throughout Ralph Wilson Stadium, particularly when the Steelers took the field just prior to kickoff.
(This version CORRECTS Steelers 19, Bills 16, OT. Corrects 8th paragraph to note Bills' last four losses have been by three points, and two in OT.)