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Sloppy Steelers Show Little in Canada; Fall to Bills 24-21

Let’s just be glad that the Steelers don’t go this far North for the rest of the year.  Tonight in front of a sell-out crowd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, the Steelers seemed out of sync, allowing too many yards from their first team defense as the Bills left their second home with a 24-21 win.  The loss puts the Steelers at 1-1 in the preseason.

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, as he went right through the Steelers kickoff coverage, 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.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

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