Buffalo’s defense put eight men in the box because it wanted Duck Hodges to pass.
So Hodges did pass: 38 times, and poorly.
Should it be that easy for the Bills to “force” that?
Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner gets sympathy for having to formulate a passable game plan that makes the most of (or successfully hides) a small-college un-drafted rookie fourth-string quarterback with a popgun arm.
But yesterday’s game plan was not passable.
Given their QB situation, the Steelers have to emphasize the run. But yesterday that reality couldn’t be abandoned because it never really existed.
The Steelers ran the ball just 15 times. Buffalo has the NFL’s No. 3 pass defense but allows 4.3 yards per rush attempt, which is in the league’s bottom half.
The Steelers never trailed by more than 7. The Steelers weren’t forced to pass 38 times. They opted to do so despite being quarterbacked by somebody they previously cut.
Hodges was terrible: Four interceptions, one fumble, four sacks.
The Bills were true to their identity. They rushed the ball 38 times. They averaged the same per carry as the Steelers (a substandard 3.4 yards), but their commitment to the run gave them a possession advantage (32:20-27:40) and controlled the game’s tempo.
Such as it was. Beyond the score being close, it wasn’t much of a game unless you bet the under. (Like me.)
Courtesy of Getty Images.