The Buffalo Bills didn’t light the world on fire in their first preseason game last week in Washington vs the Redskins, so maybe it took a change of venue to North of the border to get it all together. In front of a big crowd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, the Bills played their first “home” preseason game of 2008, and used some solid first-team offense in topping the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21.
The BIlls were led by two long first half drives that both resulted in scores, both ending with touchdown throws from starting QB Trent Edwards to tight end Robert Royal. Edwards was near perfect vs a Steelers defense that showed little, going 9-for-11 for 104 yards and two scores. Royal had two catches, both for scores, and 20 yards.
Buffalo also rushed the ball well against the Steelers, putting up 159 yards, 5.1 yards per carry. Xavier Omon had 44 yards on 10 carries. Starting back Marshawn Lynch rushed five times for 25 yards, and showed some spark in the little time he was in the game for the Bills offense. Dwayne Wright ran 7 times for the Bills for 31 yards.
The Steelers seemed somewhat flat on both sides of the ball in their second preseason outing. The offense got in Bills territory on their first drive, but then a hurried Ben Roethlisberger on third down threw low and the ball popped up for an interception that ended the threat. The Steelers kept Big Ben and the starters in the game even down 14-0, and the unit ended the night on an up note with Roethlisberger throwing a long TD pass to Santonio Holmes of 40 yards that cut the lead to 14-7.
New Pittsburgh QB Byron Leftwich saw his first playing time, and was just 5-of-11 for 41 yards and lost 19 yards on a sack. Rookie QB Dennis Dixon was more impressive, going 6-for-15 for 79 yards, but also looking like former Steelers QB Kordell Stewart on a 4th-and-1 in the 4th quarter down 24-14 as he ran a bootleg 47 yards down the sideline for a score that made it 24-21.
Bills first-round pick Leodis McKelvin showed his skills, taking a Steelers kickoff back 95 yards for a score in the third quarter that put Buffalo up 24-14. The Steelers had made it 17-14 after a special teams mistake by the Bills gave the Steelers the ball deep in their end of the field, and rookie Rashard Mendenhall took it in fom six yards out for the score.
Next week the 1-1 Steelers travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings on Saturday night. The Bills will go to Indy to open up Lucas Oil Field for a game with the Colts on Sunday the 24th at 8pm.