The plays that defined the Week 1 heartbreaker
Welcome to Plays That Defined 2021! This ain’t your usual game recap. Here’s what to do. Pretend you’ve just written a novel and it’s time to select the cover art. You want a single picture that tells the reader what it’s all about, right? That’s the deal here. Vote for the play that best tells the “story” of this game. Which GIF is the best “cover art” for…
Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers to open the 2021 season! Looking to build off their red-hot offensive performances of 2020, Josh Allen and the Bills…mostly fizzled. An out-of-sorts offense made mistake after mistake but still led for three quarters. After allowing the Steelers to hang around, a three-score fourth quarter left Buffalo fans with a bad taste in their mouth.
Dion Dawkins holding call (Q1, 9:28)
One of five offensive holding calls on the day. One of four assessed. One of three for Dion Dawkins. One of three on just this drive. Ten of 40 yards for just this flag type, 13 of 23 yards negated. Buffalo came out sloppy. Really sloppy. Holding calls were a persistent problem in Week 1 and set the offense back.
Josh Allen lost fumble (Q2, 8:47)
Did I say “really sloppy?” Because that undersells it if anything. The Bills put the ball on the ground four times. While this was the only one lost, it’s hard to get in a rhythm when the ball is flying all over the field.
Tre’Davious White holding call (Q3, 13:56)
The offense didn’t have a monopoly on sloppiness and perhaps this singular moment from the defense best captures the out-of-sorts play of Buffalo. The Bills were ahead at halftime despite all their mistakes. An interception at midfield would have put Buffalo in position to start burying Pittsburgh. A little bit of extra contact negated the turnover and allowed the Steelers to continue marching down the field for the go-ahead touchdown. Here’s the full recap if you want to relive the horror.
Blocked punt (Q4, 9:52)
Buffalo’s defense managed to hold Pittsburgh to 16 points of offense, suggesting they had a good day even with the mistakes. Down by only three and time dwindling, it was anyone’s ball game. Another mistake effectively decided whose ball game it was.
Field Goal (Q4, 5:26)
A fumble on the play before this field goal helped stall the drive. Down by two scores and needing to get the ball back at least one more time, the Bills took the high-percentage field goal. What better way to demonstrate the inability of Buffalo to finish drives than with a field goal that resulted from the inability to finish a drive. Buffalo ended the game with 16 points. That’s two touchdowns (minus the XPs) lower than their season average.
Alright, it’s time to vote!