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Steelers’ defense makes a statement with big win in Buffalo

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills is hit by Joe Schobert #93 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Highmark Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

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It wasn’t always pretty for the Steelers today in Buffalo. But it was the kind of defensive struggle the Steelers have won many times through the years.

Led by the newly wealthy T.J. Watt, the Steelers’ defense did a number on the highly touted Bills’ offense, largely shutting the Bills down in a 23-16 win.

Watt had a strip-sack on Josh Allen and hit Allen as he was passing on multiple occasions, and he looked like exactly the kind of player the Steelers wanted him to be when they gave him a huge new contract last week. Pittsburgh also got an impressive game from Cameron Heyward, who had a sack and knocked down a couple passes, and the Steelers looked like they’re going to have one of the best defenses in the NFL this year.

On offense it wasn’t as good. Ben Roethlisberger struggled for much of the game, and so did rookie running back Najee Harris, who couldn’t find a lot of room to run. But the offense made just enough plays on a day that was controlled by the Steelers’ defense.

For Allen, who was viewed by many as a preseason MVP candidate, it was a rough game. He was under pressure and on the run much of the time, and struggled to connect with his receivers. Devin Singletary did make some nice plays running the ball, but it wasn’t enough.

The Steelers start the season 1-0 and have to feel good about their status in what figures to be a competitive AFC North. The 0-1 Bills will have to go back to the drawing board, and see how they can do a better job of keeping Allen upright.