Sunday Night Football reaction: It’s going downhill fast in Pittsburgh

Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NFL · 1 year ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The Steelers had a legitimate excuse when they lost to the Football Team in Week 13: their schedule was totally out of whack, playing on a Monday after taking the field on Wednesday of the previous week. That’s not to say that blowing a 14-0 lead at home to an opponent that was 4-7 at the time is acceptable; it just partly explained what happened.

This time, though, there can be no excuses. Sure, losing on the road to a Buffalo team that is now 10-3 isn’t as bad as losing at home to TWFT; but Pittsburgh’s 26-15 setback against the Bills on Sunday Night Football was even more alarming. For one, a second consecutive loss is always more concerning because it proves that the first one was no fluke. Secondly, this one came against a conference rival that the Steelers very well could see again in the playoffs. And this one was convincing, too. The Bills scored 23 unanswered points from late in the second quarter through the third quarter to take complete control following a brief 7-0 deficit. They outgained Pittsburgh 334 yards to 224 yards, dominated the time of possession 35:15 to 24:45 while running 71 plays to the Steelers’ 55, and went 7-for-14 on third down while limiting the opposition to a 1-for-10 effort in that department.

One seed relinquished

Just like in the NFC, the top seed in the AFC changed hands—at least temporarily on Sunday. Pittsburgh had been tied with Kansas City at 11-1 heading into Sunday and held the conference-record tiebreaker, giving head coach Mike Tomlin’s team the inside track on the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Now those distinctions belong to the Chiefs, who improved to 12-1 by beating Miami 33-27 as the Steelers fell to 11-2.

Kansas City has one potential loss left on its schedule, next week against New Orleans. However, Pittsburgh has both Indianapolis and Cleveland still to play. It once looked like the Steelers could go undefeated for an entire season; now it’s hard to see them going through a three-game stretch without another loss. In other words, you can just about hand the AFC’s No. 1 seed to the Chiefs. And although there is a lot of regular-season football still left to be played, it would not be surprising to see a Buffalo-Pittsburgh rematch in the divisional round for the right to visit K.C. in the conference title game.

We know this much: if the Steelers want to get revenge in a possible rematch with Josh Allen and company, they have to get a lot better.

Are the Bills the second-best team in the AFC?

The Bills, after all, look like the real deal. They have the AFC East all but locked up at 10-3 (second-place Miami is 8-5) and could officially clinch it as soon as this coming week. But head coach Sean McDermott’s squad may have even grander designs in his head now that Buffalo is riding a three-game winning streak and boasts a 6-1 record in its last seven games. Allen is playing like an elite QB, Stefon Diggs (10 catches, 130 yards, one TD on Sunday night) is one of the best receivers in football, and the defense is giving up fewer than 19 points per game over the past three outings. Speaking of that improving defensive unit, Taron Johnson returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown on Sunday night to completely shift the momentum just prior to halftime.

It has become clear that the Buffalo Bills were simply circling the wagons when they lost three times in the span of six weeks during October and November. Now they are ready to fight.

Pickswise is the home of free NFL picks. Check out the latest NFL props and NFL parlays as well as expert underdog predictions and computer picks.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5+ On Any NFL Pre-Game ML, Get $200 If Your Bet Wins

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any NFL pre-game ML

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Unibet

$100

Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

PointsBet

$800

Get 4x $200 In Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$500

Get Your First Bet Risk-Free Up To $500

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

DraftKings

$100

Bet $5+ on MLB and get $100 in Free Bets Instantly!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $100 no matter what!

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 in Free Bets With PointsBet's Second Chance

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.