Steelers 23 Bills 16: Five Takeaways From Sunday's Season Opener

Buffalo mustered just 16 points at home as its offense misfired all day.

The Pittsburgh Steelers handed the Buffalo Bills a shocking 23-16 defeat on Sunday at Highmark Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

Featuring an offense that consistently misfired and a special-teams unit that allowed a blocked punt for a touchdown, the defending AFC East champs didn't have an answer for a Steelers team that was more than up for the challenge.

Here are five quick takeaways.

1. No time to panic

As poor as the Bills looked on offense all day, it could just be that the Steelers are a damn-good squad. After all, they opened last season with 11 straight wins before things fell apart on them. They have more than their share of talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

On the other hand, when you hold a team to 252 net yards and a 33% conversion percentage on third down, you're supposed to win 101 times out of 100.

2. Bills defense came to play

They had some dubious moments in the second half, but the Bills couldn't have realistically expected to play better against a Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and talented collection of skill players around him

3. Brian Daboll has to be better

When you go for it on 4th down and you have your fullback on the field and you've worked the entire offseason to generate a more dependable running game, you don't call some high-school gadget play that any competent professional opponent is going to recognize before the ball is even snapped.

A backward pass to Matt Breida? Really?


One of the most horrible calls in the history of pro football.

To put it mildly, this was not the offensive coordinator's finest hour.

4. Josh Allen an injury waiting to happen

Though probably just opponent-specific, having Allen run the ball nine times is not generally a great strategy.

It's one thing when he scrambles out of the pocket and has no other choice. But too many QB draws just reeks of ... again, high school.

5. Haack has to be better

Blaming the punter for a jailbreak that leads to a blocked punt for a touchdown might seem overly simplistic and not fair, but Matt Haack took to long to get the thing off and he also never looked up.

The special teams opened the game by creating a gigantic alley for Isaiah McKenzie to return the kickoff 75 yards. Turns out the would be the best thing Buffalo did all day.

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