Bills' Defensive Line Play Against Steelers Left Positive Vibes

The revamped unit, which still is not at full strength, made QB Ben Roethlisberger uncomfortable all day and limited Pittsburgh's ground game.
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Not all was a loss for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. At least their defense came to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers, particularly the line.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier had no complaints after the Bills sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice (knocking the ball loose once), hitting him four other times and limiting the Steelers to 252 net yards of offense.

Mario Addison provided a strip-sack and Ed Oliver (three tackles, including a hit on Roethlisberger) shined despite the absence once again of Star Lotulelei, who was out with a calf injury.

So many others did things that aren't necessarily reflected in the final statistics.

"I really liked the way Jerry [Hughes] came out," Frazier said in his Monday press conference. "Really our entire defensive line. They really had things under control early in the game, in particular. ... We were working different groups together, but Jerry Hughes, Greg Rousseau, our two tackles inside, when Ed [Oliver] was in there, when Vernon [Butler] was in there, they did a good job.

"And then Justin [Zimmer] along with Harrison [Phillips] came in. They did a fine job for us as well. I thought our entire D-line did what we were hoping would happen — and that was controlling the line of scrimmage. They had their longest run, [which] was that reverse. But other than that, you know, we pretty much controlled the line of scrimmage and we were able to get after the quarterback and make him get off his spot."

Oliver looked like the player they all believed he could be when they drafted him in the first round in 2019.

"Ed really had a good game for us," Frazier said. "He very active, had some tackles for losses, did a great job of turning and running on some of those wide receiver screens and making plays for us. He had a good game.

"We did move around a little bit. Sometimes he was at the nose position, sometimes the 3-technique position. In each one of them, he still was a major factor. He was dominant in a lot of ways in the interior yesterday for sure."

Oliver has essentially been challenged by Frazier, who singled him out in the preseason as the player he thinks has the best chance for a breakout season.

"I think some of it may be the experience factor," Frazier said. "I mean, he's going into year Year 3 with us in this system, so I think there's a certain comfort level that creates that confidence. And as the year goes on, you know, we'll just continue to see that consistency in his play."

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro. Email to