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Wayne Post
  • Buffalo Bills offense fails to ignite in 23-10 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers

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  • PITTSBURGH The Buffalo Bills were hoping for a boost from E.J. Manuel's return.
    Instead, the offense stumbled in a 23-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field.
    Ben Roethlisberger overcame an early interception to throw for 204 yards and Le'Veon Bell rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown for Pittsburgh (3-6), which snapped a two-game losing streak.
    "We didn't capitalize on everything that we thought we could have," said Manuel, who missed four games with a sprained right knee. "Obviously it wasn't the way I wanted to come back and have my game off of the injury."
    The Steelers were coming off a 55-31 loss at New England in which their defense allowed a franchise-worst 610 yards. Buffalo (3-7) proved to be the perfect remedy for a beleaguered Steelers defense.
    "We had an embarrassing performance a week ago. You've got to swallow it and chew it, and we did," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "We didn't let it stop our preparation, and obviously you measure preparation on performance."
    The Steelers held the Bills to only 227 total yards 87 of which came on the final drive.
    "We just couldn't make any plays and we couldn't get anything going," said Bills center Eric Wood. "It's a loss and it hurts because of where we are, record-wise. It could be a big setback if we let it affect us next week."
    Manuel, who was injured in a loss at Cleveland on Oct. 3, finished 22-of-39 for 155 yards.
    "I don't think that is a big deal with missing games or anything like that," said Manuel. "You can tell when you have pressure. You can tell when guys are getting closer to you, so I don't think being away or missing games has anything to do with the internal clock."
    Pittsburgh has won four straight and eight of its last nine over Buffalo. The Bills have not beaten the Steelers since Oct. 10, 1999, and their last win in Pittsburgh came on Jan. 9, 1993 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Bills won that game 24-3 on their way to their third of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
    "We did some positive things that we can take from today, but it's still developing," said Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. "It's great to reflect on it after a win, but we have to continue to get better."
    The Steelers led 10-3 at halftime on Roethlisberger's five-yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery on the play following the two-minute warning. Pittsburgh extended its lead to 17-3 late in the third quarter on Bell's 4-yard touchdown run. An encroachment penalty on Marcell Dareus on a field goal attempt gave Pittsburgh an automatic first down and Bell scored two plays later.
    A Ryan Clark interception and a 50-yard punt return by Brown set up Shaun Suisham field goals in the fourth quarter.
    Page 2 of 2 - "They caught us with some big chunk plays," said Bills head coach Doug Marrone. "They were able to make some plays and beat us."
    Manuel added a 2-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds to Chris Gragg the rookie tight end's first NFL touchdown.
    Jairus Byrd intercepted Roethlisberger on the opening drive of the game, but the Bills settled for a 20-yard Dan Carpenter field goal.
    Roethlisberger completed 18 of his 30 pass attempts, including six to Brown for 104 yards. Early Sunday morning, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Roethlisberger is unhappy with the Steelers' coaching staff and may seek a trade in the off-season. The two-time Super Bowl champion Roethlisberger vehemently denied the report after the game.
    "It is ridiculous," said Roethlisberger. "I don't want to go anywhere. I love it here. This is family, this is where I want to be, and where I've always wanted to be."
    Fred Jackson rushed for 55 yards on 12 carries, but the Bills were held to less than 100 yards on the ground for the third in the last four weeks.
    "Each week is different. A team can get embarrassed one week and then next week go out and look like Super Bowl champions," said Bills running back C.J. Spiller, who had only 23 yards on eight carries.
    The Bills host the New York Jets on Sunday before the bye week and the annual trip to Toronto to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 1.
    Notebook: Before Byrd's first-quarter interception, the Bills had not forced a turnover in three games Bills WR Stevie Johnson left the game in the fourth quarter with a groin injury. Safety Da'Norris Search (hamstring) and WR Chris Hogan (concussion) also left the game with injuries The Bills dropped to 9-15 all-time against the Steelers Buffalo's last regular season win at Pittsburgh came on Sept. 28, 1975 Bills rookie LB Kiko Alonso had 10 tackles, giving him 101 for the season Lawrence Timmons had eight tackles and a sack for the Steelers.
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