View Full Version : Steelers can’t afford to overlook Buffalo Bills
11-25-2010, 02:44 AM
Steelers can’t afford to overlook Buffalo Bills
Posted by eric.schmidt November 24, 2010
Last Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers rebounded from their devastating loss to the New England Patriots and destroyed the Oakland Raiders 35-3, but they can not afford to over look the Buffalo Bills. The Pittsburgh Steelers really need the win they earned last Sunday in order to keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.
In what could be considered a classic trap game, the Buffalo Bills have nothing much to play for this season other than pride, and are winners of their last two games. The Pittsburgh Steelers could enter this Sunday’s game with their heads thinking of their match-up in two weeks with co-division leading Baltimore. But that would not be wise.
The Buffalo Bills have found a new offensive combination. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Steve Johnson. Fitzpatrick is coming off his second four touchdown game of the season and has five multi passing touchdown games this season. Fitzpatrick has been solid since being named the starter for the Bills and has managed to lead the Bills into overtime on the road against the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Baltimore Ravens host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. This is not the 2009 version of the Buccaneers. While they are starting seven rookies, the Buccaneers on the road are fearless, collecting a 4-1 record away from Tampa so far this season. I am expecting a close game between the two and a Tampa Bay upset of the Ravens is not out of the question.
If Tampa were to upset the Ravens, and Pittsburgh wins out over the Bills, the Steelers could then head into week 13 looking at taking a two game lead over the Ravens. The Ravens-Buccaneers game has been flexed to a 4pm start time, so the Steelers won’t have to be watching any scoreboards in Buffalo. Simply stay focused, and take care of the task at hand, beating the Bills. Worry about the Ravens in week 13.
11-25-2010, 03:17 AM
GO STEELERS!!!!!!! :Steel :tt1 :tt2 :Beer
11-25-2010, 09:37 AM
No time for a letdown
By Teresa Varley - Steelers.com
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 9c9e270325 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/No-time-for-a-letdown/1a0dc2b1-d86a-4fc6-873a-4f9c9e270325)
The Steelers won’t let the Bills 2-8 record fool them as they know they are going to have their hands full in Buffalo on Sunday.
“They have been in every game,” said wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. “We are not overlooking them, more so the way they played the last five or six games. The last five games they are 2-3 and the three games they lost were by a total of about nine points.
“We are not overlooking them by any means. In the last two games they came back and won. They aren’t a team you overlook. You don’t want to overlook any team, but they certainly have given us reason not to overlook them.”
After starting off 0-8, the Bills have won their last two games and the Steelers know they can’t let their guard down.
“They are a good football team,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “They have a good defense. We have to bear down and focus.
“I think they are opportunistic. Whenever they have an interception it seems like they never drop it, they always catch them and they always make the most of their plays. Seems like these last couple weeks in particular is the most film we have watched and they are really getting after the quarterback and making as many plays as they can.”
* * *
Former Steelers and Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was at practice on Wednesday and shared his thoughts on the NFL’s crackdown on illegal hits.
“What I think is the Commissioner and the National Football League are trying to do something to enforce the rule and make sure player safety is a priority,” said Blount. “Some of the things and some of the hits you see that these guys are getting fined for are just clean football hits. I think there is a fine line there. I do support player safety. Nobody is going to always agree on the actions that are taken.
“I think from the things we have seen from some of the hits James Harrison has had and some of the fines around the league, I think they are questionable. I think there has to be some common sense used. When you start fining someone $50,000 or $25,000 - that is serious money. Hopefully the league and the rules committee can take a look at it this offseason and come up with something that is fair to the players. I think there have been some fines that have been unfair because guys have been just making football plays.”
* * *
There isn’t any better time than now in the minds of the players to start a winning streak that they hope will extend their season.
“In this league you have to go on runs,” said Roethlisberger. “You want to get hot and you want to get hot at the end of the year and you want to be playing your best football and that entails putting wins together and that is what we need to do. It’s that time of year where we need to start stacking up wins and start focusing on what you can do to be the best team. So that’s why it is important for us to come and play a good football game and give them our best shot.”
* * *
Steelers players were given off on Monday after soundly defeating the Raiders, a day that is normal slated for watching film from the day before.
But, despite getting the break, the defense still watched a portion of the game film, focusing only on the mistakes they made in a 35-3 dominating win.
“We just looked at all of the things we did wrong,” said linebacker James Farrior. “We had 25 plays that needed corrected. We usually have about the same amount each game. We always find something we can improve on. This game was no different. There were some things we left out there that we have to correct.”
One player who showed up good on film and in the eyes of his teammates was defensive end Ziggy Hood.
“Ziggy did a great job,” said Farrior. “He did a heck of a job, making plays all over the field. He was moving around pretty good.”
* * *
Offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who used to coach the Bills offensive line, is not just popular with the Steelers offensive linemen, but with other players as well.
“He is awesome,” said Roethlisberger. “What a great coach. You can see the line respects him and likes him as a coach. They are playing rejuvenated, better than I have seen in a long time and a lot has to do with him. He keeps the room light and fun, but they respect him and when it’s time to get down to business they can do that.”
* * *
Wide receiver Hines Ward is in his 13th NFL season and when he looks around the offensive huddle can’t believe how many young guys he sees.
“It’s very young,” said Ward. “Looking in the huddle, seeing Emmanuel (Sanders), Mike (Wallace), Rashard (Mendenhall) and (Maurkice) Pouncey, those guys are great talent. I am still coaching in the middle of the game. We will continue to grow. Those guys are great players. The more they develop, the better we will become as a unit.”
11-25-2010, 09:42 AM
Buffalo Bills Conference Calls
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... c57f2f4939 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Buffalo-Bills-Conference-Calls/3e605b4c-fbe4-4a77-8fe1-fdc57f2f4939)
HEAD COACH CHAN GAILEY
Conference Call w/ Pittsburgh Steelers
On his thoughts about getting back-to-back wins:
Well, you go out every week trying to win the game. Our guys have continued to work and continued to get better, but didn’t have anything to show for it. It was great for them to be able to have something to show for and get that monkey off their back of not having a win. Then, to come back the way they did last week, it was a testament to the character of our football team.
On what happened at halftime to come out firing the way they did:
Well, we didn’t make any real adjustment offensively. We made a few defensively. We were able to slow them down and actually shut them out in the second half which was amazing in itself. I think our players were extremely upset with the way the first half ended and they wanted to go out and win the game. We talked about finding a way to win and they said let’s make a way to win, don’t find a way to win.
On if the Steelers defense looks any different to him than when he was in Pittsburgh:
The result is the same. Yeah, it looks a lot different as far as personnel. They have a few more wrinkles than they’ve had in the past, but the result is the same. That’s a dominating defense and they’ll suffocate you if you’re not careful.
On if the wrinkles include S Troy Polamalu:
No, it goes beyond him. The things they’re doing with all those linebackers and the third down packages are so much more intricate than what we had.
On how to handle the Steelers running game to go along with their passing attack:
That’s a tough one to be honest with you. I know this, if you don’t stop the run, you’re not going to beat them. You’ve got to go out there and stop the run. If you can let them get off on the right foot running the football, slowing them down is going to be a hard thing. They’re a very physical football team. Then, you have to hope you can get enough pressure or get somebody back there that’s even with [Mike] Wallace to take away that deep threat because they’re going to put it down there two or three times a game and you better prevent the big play.
On what kind of leader has LB Paul Posluszny been on the defense:
Well, he’s really come on. The last three or four weeks has been a big jump for him. He was kind of feeling his way around and he missed some of camp. So, he didn’t work there and was just feeling his way around earlier in the year with exactly what was expected of him defensively. I think we were trying to find who did what best and then we started to hone in on what everybody could do well. Paul has really taken off. I think he’s had double digit tackles for the last three, maybe four weeks. He’s done a great job. He’s a very good leader for us.
On what differences he sees in QB Ben Roethlisberger:
Probably, he’s doing a better job of managing the game. At times he would get wild and now he’ll dump the ball off and he won’t make the wild throw. I see him a lot more under control.
On if he is more dangerous of a runner than as he was a few years ago:
Probably not, but the thing about it is he’s so hard to tackle. If he runs, you just have a hard time tackling him and he’s not a prone to run as he was before, but he understands all the weapons that are around him and he’s trying to get it in their hands. That’s a smart quarterback.
On if he thinks he will be able to run the ball against the Steelers:
Nobody else has.
On if it’s worth even trying:
You’ve got to try. You’ve got to go out and try to run the football and be effective. You may not run it for 150 [yards], but you’ve got to try to be effective.
On his memories of his time in Pittsburgh:
There’s so many great times that we had there. I think three of the four years I was there we were able to go to the AFC Championship game. We just had some great years and we love living there. My son went to North Allegheny High School and played football and baseball up there. We had a lot of great memories being involved with the Steelers.
On if he realized the Steelers went five-wide last Sunday:
Yes, I saw that. That’s amazing. They’re trying to create a lot of different wrinkles now and I think it’s helping them.
On if he went with five wide receivers during his time in Pittsburgh as offensive coordinator:
We had five receivers in the game, but one of them was Kordell [Stewart].
On how much of an innovative move that was at the time:
I don’t know. I can’t remember.
On if spreading the field was new to the Steelers before he got there:
Well, I don’t think very many Steelers fans knew there was five [wide receivers] on a team. They realized there might be two or three, but to split five guys out at that time when it was a, I don’t want to say run-oriented only, but it had been pretty heavy [on the] run and that’s how we made our mark. The good thing is even when we did that it was kind of a novelty. We still won games running the football and playing defense.
On Bill Cowher’s reaction when he proposed the five-wide set:
He was excited – ecstatic. He was. He loves that stuff. He is an innovative guy himself, defensively, so he loved that stuff.
On what it’s like having a Harvard Grad as his QB:
Well, we don’t have many off-field conversations. (Laughter)
On if he had any trouble picking up his offense:
Oh no, I’m learning stuff from him about it.
On his thoughts on the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech:
When do they play?
On his thoughts on the job head coach Mike Tomlin’s done in Pittsburgh:
He’s done a great job. He’s fortunate to work, in my opinion, in a great organization. The Rooney’s have a great idea about the direction a team should go and they stayed with that and remained focused on the task at hand for all these years. I know Mike feels the same way and he’s done a great job of keeping the team at the top all these years.
On the relationship that’s developed recently between QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Steve Johnson:
I guess, and this probably comes from a comment I heard Fitz make; they worked on scout team quite a bit the previous year and I think they developed something then where they knew each other, what they were thinking and had a feel for things and I think that just carried over into this season.
On if he had any inclination that they could be as successful as they have been:
Nope. I had no clue. I’d like to tell you I could see that and I was that smart, but I’m not.
On if Johnson has a different t-shirt message each week:
I don’t know. I didn’t know about the last one until I heard about it.
[Sounds like you don’t want to see the next one]
Nope, I hope there’s not another one.
On Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris:
He’s a typical Pittsburgh guy. He’s hard-nosed, tough, no nonsense, he goes to work every day and he plays till he quits I think. He knows what the game’s all about. It’s about being tough and hard-nosed and getting after it every day.
Buffalo Bills Linebacker Paul Posluszny
November 24, 2010
On the team’s confidence after winning two straight:
Obviously we started off in a tough situation, losing our first eight and not playing well at all. Towards the end of that we started to play a little bit better. We were in games in the fourth quarter and overtime and we felt like we could’ve pulled those games out so we started to play better. Finally we were able to win a couple of games which has been great for us because we’ve been fighting and struggling all along to win a game and we finally got a couple under our belt so that was big for our confidence. We obviously know that we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do but that was big for our confidence just to be able to win a couple of games.
On the difference between winning those two games and losing the close games before that:
I really think that in the past couple of games we’ve learned how to win. In those couple of games that we lost, especially down to the wire, we had been losing so much that you kind of don’t have that confidence. When the game is on the line and it’s the fourth quarter we didn’t have the confidence to win the game. Now that we’ve won a couple we’re starting to build that. Like I said we still have a long way to go. We’re still 2-8, there is no hiding that but we feel like we’re headed in the right direction.
On what changed at halftime in last week’s Bengals game:
We felt like even regardless of the score, we felt like we had been playing solid and we just needed to continue fighting throughout the whole game. Coming into that game we felt confident that we could play well against Cincinnati. It wasn’t working out the way we planned in the first half, but we knew if we stuck together, stuck to the game plan and continued to fight for four quarters then we would have a good chance. That’s what ended up happening.
On what Coach Gailey has done to keep the team’s morale up:
He’s done a great job of having a plan for us. Regardless of the situation even though we’re losing games, nothing changed. We continued to come in on Monday’s, break down the film and learn. Come back on Wednesday’s and practice hard, nothing changed. We stayed the course regardless of our record and that was big, that was big for us. Coach proved to us that as long as you continue to work hard good things will happen.
On Coach Gailey’s changes at halftime:
Coach was pretty fiery at halftime. I mean he was definitely excited and he had us going because like I said we felt like we had opportunities to win that game and we knew we had the ability to do it. We just had to go out and finish the game. Coach was definitely excited at halftime and that got us going.
On how it feels to be injury free:
It’s unbelievable, especially in the first couple of years, banged up a little bit and things like that so it’s great to finally be healthy and to be able to help this team out.
On how much of the 3-4 defense the Bills are playing:
We’ve been going back and forth now between the 3-4 and 4-3 and it depends on each game. We’re going to use whatever is most beneficial in that particular game based on our personnel and how we match up. In the beginning it was a tough change for us and it showed. We didn’t play as well as we wanted to defensively but now we’re starting to play better. We’re starting to feel more comfortable in the 3-4 and even though like I said we’ll go back in forth between different packages but we’re definitely starting to feel more comfortable in our defense.
On how the changes from 3-4 to 4-3 affects him personally:
Just learning different jobs and different responsibilities. The good thing about it, going back and forth, we tried to keep as many things similar as we could to make an easy transition between going back and forth. We were able to do that pretty well. Thankfully for me, my job responsibilities change at times but we also had a lot of carry-over between the two.
On if he stays on the field in the 4-3:
Yeah, when we’re in our 3-4 set I’m one of the inside linebackers, especially in nickel situations where we want to go to a four down lineman look I stay on the field I just bump over and play middle.
On if it’s still a big deal for him to suit up against the Steelers:
It’s always exciting to play them just because of how good they are. They’re always a successful team, they always have a good record and they always have big time players. Anytime you get in that situation whether it’s the Steelers, the Patriots, you’re always excited to play teams like that because they’re the best in the league and you want to be able to compete against them.
On if the Bills need to be more prepared to stop the run or the throw:
Definitely both, when you think about the traditional Pittsburgh Steelers goal number one is always stop the run. They’re running the ball well; they’ve got a good back and a good offensive line so that’s always goal number one to stop the run. Then they have a dynamic quarterback who is throwing the ball really well too so they do both well. Like I said goal number one is always to stop the run.
On Maurkice Pouncey:
He’s playing well especially for a rookie center. He moves really well and it seems like he’s doing a great job of commanding the offensive line and getting everyone lined up.
On if there are any parallels to his time at Penn State
Just the fact that when I was at Penn State, early in my career we were very bad. We always felt like we had the people to be successful. We had the talent, we just had to go out and get that winning feeling. And learn how to win football games. That is similar to this because that is the same situation. We have started off rough, but we feel like we have all the right people in place. We have the ability to win games. We just have to go out and play with a lot of confidence and be able to win those games.
On Joe Paterno saying he will be back next year to coach at Penn State
I feel like it has been the last 15 years that he has been saying he’ll be back for one more year. When that is going to change, I wish I could tell you guys.
On his thoughts on Paterno’s situation
The thing is, it’s Joe Paterno, and he has built Penn State football to what it is. So, I think he has earned the right to go out on his own. I feel like if it ever got to the point where his being there was detrimental to the program, he would do what is best for the program. I think he would have what is best for the program first in his heart. As long as he is an asset to the program, which he is, then I think he has the right to stay.
On this being the last year of his contract and if he wants to stay in Buffalo
That sounds like a great plan to me. As long as they want me around, I want to be here.
On the balance of stopping the run and the deep threat
That’s going to be the tough part for us, because we have to have an awareness of him at all times. Especially with how well he is playing and his ability to stretch the field. Our corners are going to have to do a great job of matching up on him. Whether we have seven or eight guys in the box, we are going to have to make sure we control the line of scrimmage and control the run game. It is going to be a good challenge for us.
11-25-2010, 11:27 AM
Gailey is truly one of the good guys in the game. I'll be cheering for his Bills to win out through the rest of the regular season--after we beat them soundly this coming Sunday, that is. :D
11-25-2010, 12:10 PM
The Steelers are a focused team this year. Except for the debacle against the Patriots the Steelers have been playing pretty good football. The fact that they dismantled an inferior opponent last week tells me that they understand what the task at hand is right now. I'm looking for this game to be over at half time.
11-25-2010, 02:53 PM
The Steelers are a focused team this year. Except for the debacle against the Patriots the Steelers have been playing pretty good football. The fact that they dismantled an inferior opponent last week tells me that they understand what the task at hand is right now. I'm looking for this game to be over at half time.
Pap - One thing I've learned over the past 2 or 3 seasons, is no matter HOW big a lead, a Steeler game is never over at half time.
Having said that, maybe last week can be the start of a beautiful thing!!
11-25-2010, 05:05 PM
Buffalo's Chan gang shows improvement
TEXT SIZE By: Mike Bires Beaver County Times
Tuesday November 23, 2010 11:46 PM
PITTSBURGH — Absolutely do not — under any circumstance — underestimate the Buffalo Bills.
That’s the message coach Mike Tomlin will repeat over and over again this week to his Steelers. They may have an AFC North Division showdown in Baltimore ahead of them on Dec. 5. But they dare not look past this Sunday’s game in Buffalo.
It’s hard to imagine a 2-8 football team feeling too good about itself yet such is the case with the Bills.
Despite an 0-8 start, Chan Gailey never lost his team and the Bills never lost faith in their first-year coach.
“I talk to these guys about believing in each other,” said Gailey, the Steelers’ offensive coordinator in 1996-97. “If they believe in each other and believe in themselves, we’ve got some talent. We’ve got a chance to be a very good football team.”
The Bills have at least been good enough to win their past two games. They got their first win on Nov. 14 when they edged Detroit, 14-12. Then last week, they beat the Bengals in Cincinnati, 49-31. After trailing 31-14 at halftime, the Bills scored 35 unanswered points.
And before those two victories against last-place teams, the Bills played three contenders tough before ultimately losing. They lost by three at Baltimore (7-3), by three at Kansas City (6-4) and by three at home to Chicago (7-3).
“They’re a warm football team, I’m sure they’re looking to get hot,” Tomlin said. “I’m sure they’re excited about us coming in there.”
Over the last 16 years, Buffalo fans haven’t had much to get excited about.
After making it to the Super Bowl four straight seasons from 1990-93 when Jim Kelly ran the K-Gun offense, the Bills have only qualified for the playoffs four times. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999. Their last playoff win came in a 1995 wild-card game.
In an attempt to bring respectability back to a once-proud franchise, the Bills hired Gailey, an offensive-minded type who had been a head coach twice before. He coached Dallas in 1998-99 and led the Cowboys to the playoffs both years. He also coached at Georgia Tech from 2002-2007 and became the first coach in school history to lead the Yellow Jackets to bowl appearances in each of his first six seasons on the job.
Gailey, who was also a candidate for the opening in Pittsburgh before the Steelers hired Tomlin, says his new team is making a steady progression.
“(Are we) where we want to be right now, I can promise you we’re not,” Gailey said. “Do I think we’re getting better? I think we’re getting better as a football team.”
One of the first changes Gailey made upon his arrival in Buffalo was on the defensive side of the ball. He switched the Bills from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4.
Then after an 0-2 start, Gailey cut starting quarterback Trent Edwards and replaced him with Ryan Fitzpatrick. In his eight starts, Fitzpatrick has played relatively well. He’s tied for seventh in the NFL with 18 touchdown passes.
“Guys are starting to believe that we can do some good things,” Fitzpatrick said. “Hopefully, we’ll continue to build on that. We’ve got a tough one this week. It’s a big challenge, but it’s a chance for us to see where we are.”
For the 7-3 Steelers, who are favored to beat the Bills by 6, it’s a chance to remain among the elite teams in the AFC.
“We got a big week this week,” Tomlin said. ”We’re going to Buffalo, getting back in the business of playing on the road. We don’t take that lightly.”
Local ties to the Bills:
A former star at Hopewell High School and Penn State University where he was a two-time All-American, “Poz” plays inside linebacker in the Bills’ 3-4 defense. Despite missing two games earlier this season with a sprained knee, he’s eighth in the NFL in tackles (60 solos, 28 assists). Posluszny was the Bills’ second-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Offensive line coach, first year
A 1972 Center High School graduate, D’Alesssandris is a journeyman who’s coached for several college teams and in four different pro leagues. He was Chan Gailey’s O-line coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-2007. He got his first NFL job as Kansas City’s assistant O-line coach in 2008 when Gailey was hired as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator.
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... ement.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/november/23/buffalos-chan-gang-shows-improvement.html)
11-26-2010, 11:15 AM
If Gailey doesn't make it in Buffalo would it would be great to give BA the boot and bring him back. I think he was one of our better OCs.
11-26-2010, 04:01 PM
Steelers know who this Bills' WR is now
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer, email@example.com
PITTSBURGH - If a poll had been taken in the Steelers locker room a few weeks ago as to who Steve Johnson is, it would have sounded like somebody released a bunch of owls in the room.
The Steelers aren't asking that any longer.
Johnson, the breakout wide receiver for Buffalo, has earned admirers in the Steelers locker room as Pittsburgh (7-3) prepares to play the Bills (2-8) Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday.
"He looks good on tape. The boy looks real good on tape," said Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor.
A few weeks of game tape is all most teams have to go on in preparing for Johnson. The third-year receiver appeared in just 16 games in his first two seasons, making 12 catches for 112 yards.
Despite starting just seven of Buffalo's 10 games this season, Johnson has 52 receptions for 728 yards and nine touchdowns. In Buffalo's 49-31, come-from-behind win at Cincinnati last week, Johnson had his third 100-yard game this season, catching eight passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
The Steelers certainly know who No. 13 is now.
"They hadn't been playing him the last two years, that's why nobody had ever heard of him," said Taylor. "But as far as what he's showing on tape and what he's been doing, ain't nobody messing with him. He's good. He's got great ball skills, body control. He doesn't like going down easy. He's a competitor."
A seventh-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2008, Johnson was pretty much an afterthought for the Bills heading into the season.
The elevation of journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick into Buffalo's starting lineup in Week 3 has been a boon for Johnson.
Buffalo coach Chan Gailey said because they got so much time together in practice when both were backups, Fitzpatrick and Johnson immediately clicked when both became starters.
Fitzgerald, who has 18 touchdown passes in eight starts, isn't an unknown to the Steelers. In 2008, he made two starts against the Steelers while with Cincinnati, subbing for an injured Carson Palmer. The Harvard graduate completed 41 of 72 passes for 332 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
"He's a smart guy; where'd he go to school? Harvard," said Steelers linebacker James Farrior. "He definitely does a good job of reading defenses and making the proper throws and knowing what you're going to be doing, playing accordingly. He's managed the game very well. They've been putting up a lot of points."
Much of that has been because of Johnson's ability to turn a short pass into a long gain. He displayed that against the Bengals, catching short passes over the middle, breaking tackles and getting into the end zone.
"I don't know how he does it," Fitzpatrick told buffalobills.com. "There are a couple of times I throw him a 5-yard route, and all of a sudden he just takes off. It's just that ability that he has and nobody can really put a finger on, but that's what makes him such a special player."
The Steelers have allowed 239 yards passing per game and know they will have their hands full with Johnson.
"(He's) 6-2, 205. There's just some things you can't coach," Taylor said. "What he's doing right now, nine touchdowns, that's saying a whole lot.
"You've got to tackle him, that's for real."
Odds and end zones
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall needs two touchdowns to become the fifth running back in team history to have 10 in a season. ... Linebackers Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior are tied for the team lead with 98 tackles each.
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/loc ... are-Bills- (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/11-26-2010-Steelers-Who-are-Bills-)
11-26-2010, 07:43 PM
Big names like Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson may have more catches and yards this season (71 catches for 865 and 4 TD's & 56 catches for 813 yards and 4 TD's, respectively), but relative unknowns like Mike Wallace and Steve Johnson have actually put the ball in the end zone at a much higher rate this season (33 catches for 759 yards and 8 TD's & 52 catches for 728 yards and 9 TD's, respectively).
11-27-2010, 02:17 AM
Bills LB confident in turnaround
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, November 26, 2010
To understand why Paul Posluszny is optimistic about where the Buffalo Bills are heading, consider where he has been.
Prior to leading a resurgence at Penn State -- and becoming what no less an authority than Jack Ham once called the best linebacker in school history -- Posluszny endured 3-8 and 4-7 seasons in Happy Valley.
"We had the talent, we just had to go out and get that winning feeling. And learn how to win football games," said Posluszny, a Hopewell graduate. "It is the same situation (in Buffalo). We have started off rough, but we feel like we have all the right people in place. We have the ability to win games. We just have to play with a lot of confidence and be able to win those games."
The Bills are trending upward after an 0-8 start that included three consecutive losses by three points. And Posluszny is a big reason why the Bills take a modest two-game winning streak into Sunday's game against the visiting Steelers.
The 6-foot-1, 238-pounder is eighth in the NFL in tackles (88) despite missing two games.
Showing the versatility he displayed while becoming a two-time All-American and Butkus Award winner at Penn State, Posluszny plays inside when the Bills are in their 3-4 base defense.
He moves outside when they go to a 4-3 set and is an every-down player
"This guy is a sideline-to-sideline tackler," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Very good in coverage."
Indeed, Posluszny tied for second among NFL linebackers in interceptions last season (three) despite missing four games with a broken arm.
He has posted double-digits in tackles in six of the Bills' last seven games and had 18 stops in a 13-10 overtime loss at Kansas City on Halloween.
Posluszny made 10 tackles last Sunday, as the Bills scored 35 unanswered points to stun the Bengals in Cincinnati after trailing, 31-14, at halftime.
"Paul has really taken off," first-year Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "The last three or four weeks has been a big jump for him."
Posluszny, a second-round pick draft in 2007, set the bar high for himself in Buffalo when he joined Shane Conlan, his idol and fellow Penn Stater, and Jim Haslett as the only rookie middle linebackers in team history to start the season opener.
Injuries are the all that have held back Posluszny since he debuted with 10 tackles against the Broncos.
He has missed 19 games in three-plus seasons, including 13 his rookie campaign after breaking his left forearm.
A sprained knee sidelined Posluszny for two games in September, but he has been stronger than ever since his return.
"It's great to finally be healthy and to be able to help this team out," he said.
Posluszny's contributions, as he sees it, aren't just limited to making one tackle after another.
He also has to take the lead in making the Bills, who have one winning season and zero playoff appearances this century, relevant again -- something he has experience doing from his days at Penn State.
Perhaps that is why Posluszny said earlier this week that he wants to stay in Buffalo even though he is in the final year of his contract.
"Now that we've won a couple, we're starting to build on that," Posluszny said. "We're still 2-8, there is no hiding that, but we feel like we're headed in the right direction."
http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburght ... 11028.html (http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_711028.html)
11-27-2010, 03:30 AM
Revived Bills seek to contend against Steelers
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/f ... dv28.1113/ (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/nfl/wires/11/26/2020.ap.fbn.steelers.bills.adv28.1113/)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -In what can only be regarded as a matchup between the NFL's misfits and mighty, it doesn't take much for Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny to guess which distinction is meant for Buffalo.
Hint: It's not the mighty.
At 2-8, the no-name Bills might well be the league's antithesis to the perennial prime-time regular, model-of-consistency Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3), who travel to Orchard Park on Sunday.
"Anybody and everybody knows the Steelers,'' said Posluszny, who grew up outside of Pittsburgh. "We're not the Steelers.''
Not even close. And yet at the competitive rate they've been playing of late, the Bills might no longer be the bumbling, lovable losers who opened their season 0-8, either.
That counts for something for a team enjoying a mini-revival by getting the most out of an offense that's clicking behind two former seventh-round draft picks - quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and receiver Stevie Johnson - and running back Fred Jackson, who went undrafted.
"We don't have the superstar names and we're not all first-round draft picks,'' Posluszny said. "When you go through something like that (0-8), I think it brings everyone closer together. It comes to a point in time that we're the only people we got, and we believe in each other when no one else gives us a chance.''
So go ahead and discount them.
"Who cares,'' safety George Wilson said. "Nobody's been giving us a chance. Keep it that way. We're going to be all right.''
Though the playoffs are all but mathematically out of the question for an 11th straight season in Buffalo, the Bills are finally showing signs of competence. After getting off to the third-worst start in franchise history, the Bills are on a two-game roll, and coming off a 49-31 win at Cincinnati in which they rallied from a 21-point first-half deficit.
If the Bills consider this game an opportunity to measure their progress, the Steelers have far higher expectations.
Tied with Baltimore atop the AFC North, the Steelers are one victory from ensuring the team's seventh consecutive eight-win season and, more important, taking another step toward securing a seventh playoff berth in 10 years.
This is no time to get caught looking past Buffalo, even with a divisional first-place showdown against the Ravens looming.
"Honest to goodness, I didn't even realize that we were playing Baltimore next week,'' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "It's that time of year when you have to start stacking up wins and start focusing on what you can do to be the best team.''
The Steelers began taking that step with a 35-3 rout of Oakland last weekend. The dominating victory was a necessary response a week after a 39-26 loss to New England - and at home no less, where Pittsburgh has lost only 87 times since 1970.
Coach Mike Tomlin shrugged off the lopsided margin of victory over the Raiders as meaningless.
"We're not trying to send messages,'' Tomlin said. "It was important for us to win. We would have been equally as pleased had it not been 35-3.''
Tomlin then turned the tables on the discussion by focusing on the Bills, noting how their two-game win streak was preceded by three straight 3-point losses, including a 37-34 overtime decision at Baltimore on Oct. 24.
"I doubt Baltimore feels bad about that three-point win they had against Buffalo a few weeks ago,'' Tomlin said. "If you look at the last five games or so from Buffalo, they're really shaping up and identifying themselves.''
Trouble for the Bills is, the Steelers' identity is already intact, particularly on defense.
Even with their loss to New England, the Steelers are allowing a mere 16.5 points a game. They're second in the NFL with 24 takeaways, tied for second with 30 sacks, and are difficult to run against. They've allowed an opponent 100 yards rushing only once this season (the Patriots with 103), and have allowed only one player to reach 100 yards (Baltimore's Ray Rice with 141 last season) in their past 44 games.
Bills coach Chan Gailey can appreciate how good Pittsburgh's defense is - and traditionally has been. As an offensive assistant under Bill Cowher in the 1990s, Gailey recalled how fortunate he considered himself for not having to face the Steelers' defense on game day.
Now that he's on the other sideline, Gailey was left to crack a few one-liners in his way of paying the Steelers their due respect.
On whether he thinks the Bills can successfully run the ball Sunday, Gailey shrugged and said: "Nobody else has.''
Asked why he can smile while discussing the challenge ahead, the coach chuckled and provided a deadpan response.
"It keeps me from crying,'' Gailey said with a wink, befitting a loose team of misfits approaching the last half of a spent season with nothing left to lose.
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11-27-2010, 03:31 AM
Bills' receiver Johnson poses threat
Saturday, November 27, 2010
By Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Chan Gailey is a realist.
When asked Tuesday whether his team could run against the Steelers, the Buffalo Bills head coach said, "Nobody else has."
Gailey, however, has other weapons with which to attack the Steelers: quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his emerging star receiver, Steve Johnson, who helped the Bills come back to beat the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend. Johnson may pose the biggest threat to the Steelers' defense when the teams meet Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"[Johnson] and the quarterback are pretty much on the same page every play," cornerback Ike Taylor said.
The Steelers allow a league-low 63 yards rushing per game, giving them the house advantage against teams that try to run. Gailey said run plays have to work, but not necessarily for big yardage.
"You may not run it for 150 but you gotta try to be effective," he said.
If they're not, the Bills can turn to Johnson and the passing game. He's been part of a resurgence that gave the Bills, 0-8 three weeks ago, two wins in a row, one a 49-31 road victory against the Bengals.
"If you didn't know the record, and somebody were to give you a question of what is the team record, you definitely would say .500 or above .500," cornerback Bryant McFadden said.
The Bills squeaked out their first win, 14-12, against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 14, when the Lions' two-point conversion pass failed in the fourth quarter. The next week Buffalo trailed, 31-14, at halftime but scored 35 unanswered second-half points.
"We were sitting there watching film and we were looking at it as, this is a team that's not acting like they're 2-8," cornerback William Gay said.
Johnson played a big part of that comeback. He caught eight passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came in the second half. He had not contributed much to the Bills before this season, when he became a dangerous counterpart to Lee Evans. Buffalo chose him out of Kentucky in the seventh round of the 2008 draft and he caught a combined 12 passes for 112 yards in 2008 and '09. Terrell Owens departure from Buffalo to Cincinnati before the season allowed him more playing time -- and he has used it well. This season Johnson has 52 catches for 728 yards and nine touchdowns.
"[Fitzpatrick and Johnson] worked on the scout team quite a bit from the previous year," Gailey said. "I think they developed something then where they knew what each other, what they were thinking, had a feel for things, and I think that just carried over into this season."
Gailey, though, didn't see this type of production coming.
"I had no clue," Gailey said. "I'd like to tell you I could see that, that I was that smart, but I'm not."
The Steelers' secondary faces the difficult task of limiting Johnson's effectiveness Sunday.
"He's a guy who not only runs good routes and catches difficult passes but the run after the catch is something that he has very good success with when looking at him on film," McFadden said. "He catches the ball and he's able to turn a 10-yard pass into a 20-yard pass."
Because of how good the run defense has been, the secondary can anticipate the pass more often and adjust to the run when needed.
"We've done an outstanding job against the run and that's something we'll continue to do, make a team one-dimensional," McFadden said. "That's why we always think every play's going to be a pass, so just have your antennas up and be ready to go."
Because of the threat of Evans on the other side of the field, the Steelers cannot roll coverage toward either receiver, safety Troy Polamalu said.
"Whenever you have a quarterback that spreads the ball around, you just can't really focus on one guy," he said.
Maybe not. But given what he has done this season, Johnson will command plenty of attention.
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11-28-2010, 01:39 AM
The About-Face Bowl
James Farrior, Ryan Fitzpatrick (AP photo)
By Jim Wexell
Posted Nov 27, 2010
The Steelers meet the Buffalo Bills today, a week after both teams played games that they believe will go a long way toward redefining their seasons.
At about the same time last Sunday that Mike Tomlin was making changes to keep his Steelers from falling apart, Chan Gailey was making changes to turn around his season with the Buffalo Bills.
Because of it, the Steelers (7-3) and Bills (2-8) expect a far more interesting game today at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.
Tomlin, of course, made lineup changes that should work in the Steelers’ favor down the homestretch and most likely into the playoffs. Tomlin not only changed his right guard and kicker, he activated a rookie receiver to return punts, promoted another rookie receiver to the No. 3/slot role, used 5-WR sets, and added more power to his running game. On defense, Tomlin brought up his corners to play more press coverage and had his strong safety move down into the box once again.
“Some of that stuff was just because of the way we matched up with the Raiders,” said in-the-box strong safety Troy Polamalu. “But, yes, I prefer a more physical and aggressive game plan.”
That may or may not be the script today in Buffalo. For certain, the 5-WR set will be scrapped and Antwaan Randle El will go back to returning punts due to rookie Antonio Brown’s minor knee injury. The confidence that was restored in both the team and its coach last Sunday in the 35-3 win won’t fade quickly for the Steelers.
Much the same can be said for the Bills, who rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Cincinnati Bengals by 18, a week after winning their first game of the season.
At halftime, Gailey benched the free safety who’d led the NFL in interceptions last year as a rookie, went to a juiced-up passing game, and read the riot act to his players.
“Coach was pretty fiery at halftime,” said Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny. “Coach was definitely excited at halftime and that got us going.”
The result was a second consecutive win and a jump in the team’s overall confidence level.
“I really think that in the past couple of games we’ve learned how to win,” Posluszny said. “When the game is on the line and it’s the fourth quarter, we didn’t have the confidence to win the game. Now that we’ve won a couple we’re starting to build that. We still have a long way to go. We’re still 2-8, there is no hiding that. But we feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has now thrown touchdown passes in 11 straight games and last week set career highs with 316 yards and 4 touchdowns.
“He’s pretty smart. Where’d he go to school?” asked Steelers linebacker James Farrior, knowing full well Fitzpatrick went to Harvard. “I remember him a few years ago in Cincinnati. He did a pretty good job. He’s a tough quarterback. We’re going to have to have people in his face.”
Fitzpatrick’s No. 1 target is third-year wide receiver Steve Johnson, who caught 8 passes for 137 yards and 3 touchdowns last week. For the season, Johnson has 52 catches (or 40 more than in his previous two seasons combined) for 728 yards and 9 touchdowns. He’s second in the NFL in third-down yardage.
“He’s a tremendous receiver. We were sitting in the film room wondering why he wasn’t playing his first year or two,” said Steelers cornerback William Gay. “(Lee) Evens is their deep man and Johnson gets open and makes people miss.”
In the backfield is Fred Jackson, who’s rushed for 562 yards since replacing rookie C.J. Spiller and since-departed Marshawn Lynch on a full-time basis.
Up front, the Bills will miss right guard Eric Wood with leg injuries. He’ll likely be replaced by former Steeler Kraig Urbik.
Defensively, the Bills’ main problem is a lack of a pass rush. They’re 29th in the NFL with only 15 sacks, but finished the Cincinnati game with two late in the game.
Even with the poor rankings and record, it’s clear the Bills are beginning to gel under Gailey. He’s the former Steelers offensive coordinator who was recommended to Bills management by Bill Cowher, the former Steelers coach who had also recommended to the Rooneys that Gailey succeed him in Pittsburgh.
“Our guys have continued to work and continued to get better,” said Gailey. “It was great for them to be able to have something to show for and get that monkey off their back (two weeks ago). Then, to come back the way they did last week, it was a testament to the character of our football team.”
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