Bills clinch playoff berth with 17-10 win over Steelers

Buffalo Bills

PITTSBURGH, Penn. (WROC) — It’s been more than a decade since the Buffalo Bills last played on Sunday Night Football, and when the team took the field in Pittsburgh, they’ll did so with a playoff berth on the line.

Buffalo clinched a postseason spot with a gutsy 17-10 road win. It’s just the second playoff berth for the Bills in the past two decades.

“It’s hard to win any game but when you talk about playoffs being here two out of three years, what a blessing,” said Sean McDermott. “It’s the people behind me in that locker room, all the people back home at One Bills Drive, and all of our fans.”

1st quarter

Bills got the ball first, but punted it away after a six-play, 28-yard drive. Steelers took over on their own 17-yard line.

Pittsburgh responded with a six-play 23-yard drive of their own, but that came to an end when Bills cornerback Tre White got his fourth interception of the year to give Buffalo the ball back on their own 25-yard line.

Buffalo wasn’t able to take advantage of the turnover and punted shortly thereafter.

There was a break in play with 5:08 left in the first quarter when Tre White went down with an apparent upper body injury.

It can be difficult to find the exciting moments in such a hard-nosed defensive battle, but a big moment came as the Bills were driving late in the first quarter when Buffalo faced fourth and six from the Steelers 36-yard line. Josh Allen confidently connected with wide receiver John Brown for 10 yards.

2nd quarter

Big play for the Bills to kick off the second quarter. Running back Devin Singletary carried it down to the Steelers 1-yard line on a gain of 14 yards. Allen punched it in the following play for the first score of the game. Extra point by Stephen Hauschka put the bills up 7-0 with 14:22 left in the half.

A sigh of relief for Bills fans, Tre White returns to the field after leaving earlier with an apparent shoulder injury.

Steelers responded to the Bills TD with a strong drive that resulted in three points when kicker Chris Boswell hit a 49-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 11:26 left in the second quarter.

From there, the teams traded punts back and forth until the 2:30 mark when a pass from Allen to wide receiver Cole Beasley was tipped and ultimately intercepted by Pittsburgh’s Steven Nelson who returned it for 33 yards to set the Steelers up with first and ten from Buffalo’s 20-yard line.

Buffalo’s defense, as it has all year, responded to adversity with a big play. Defensive tackle Trent Murphy forced a fumble and safety Jordan Power recovered it to get the ball back, and steal some potential points from the Steelers late in the first half.

The 7-3 score held until the halftime whistle as the Bills ran out the clock after the fumble recovery.

3rd quarter

Pittsburgh opened the second half with their first touchdown drive of the game. Quarterback Devlin Hodges found running back James Connor who broke a tackle on his way into the endoze. A successful extra point by Pittsburgh but them on top 10-7 with 11:18 left in the third quarter.

The Bills had a productive drive going in response, but that came to an end when Singletary fumbled and Pittsburgh recovered on their own 31-yard line. Turnovers and mistakes beginning to mount on Buffalo and that fumble ended a promising five-play, 43-yard drive the Bills had going.

Defensive battle continues — with 6:48 left in the third, there was only 299 yards combined on offense between both teams.

Tre White picked off Hodges for his second interception of the game, and returned it 49 yards to the Steelers 18-yard line with a chance to tie or take the lead with Buffalo trailing 10-7 heading into the fourth.

4th quarter

Consistent with the offensive performance throughout, the Bills couldn’t take full advantage of the great field position, but did manage to escape with some points. Hauschka knocked in a 36-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10 with 12:23 left in the game.

Inconsistent with the Bills performance throughout, after a Steelers punt, they marched efficiently down the field on their way to a touchdown. Allen connected with tight end Tyler Kroft for a 14-yard score. Successful extra point out Buffalo up 17-10 with 7:55 left in the contest. The big play of the six-play, 70-yard scoring drive was a 40-yard pass to wide receiver John Brown down the sideline to start the drive.

Hodges orchestrated an impressive late-game drive, leading up the decisive play of the games: Steelers, down 17-10 at the two minute warning, faced a fourth and seven from the Bills’ 23-yard line.

On that play, the Bills defense came up big once again with a Jordan Poyer interception.

A quick three-and-out by the Bills gave the Steelers a chance with no timeouts and 1:31 left in the game.

A bit of added drama at the end after a facemask penalty by Bills linebacker Matt Milano but the Steelers into Buffalo territory, but Pittsburgh answered with a costly false start penalty of their own that moved them back and ran time off the clock.

Another interception by Hodges, his fourth of the evening, ended the game.

FINAL SCORE: 17-10

Buffalo improves to 10-4 and clinches a playoff berth, while Pittsburgh drops to 8-6.

Josh Allen finished 13-25 for 139 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also had 28 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

“Coach preaches playoff caliber football, that’s the standard we hold ourselves to,” said Allen. “We know we have two more games, two more crucial games, that could really dictate the outcome of where we’re at and where we’re seeded.”

Rookie RB Devin Singletary had 87 yards on 21 carries. John Brown led the receiving group with seven catches for 99 yards.

Tre White had two interceptions, Jordan Poyer and Levi Wallace also posted picks.

Check back with News 8 WROC for more recap and analysis.

Edmunds’ sibling rivalry goes prime time

Before the game there was a family reunion of sorts.

Felicia Edmunds would rouse her three preteen boys from bed hours before school — and even on vacation — to put them through a rigorous daily workout of long runs and suicide sprints.

If Trey, Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds aspired to one day play in the NFL, Felicia’s phys-ed teacher instincts kicked in by knowing they weren’t going to get there by sleeping in or lying around all summer.

“Once they made the decision that this is what they wanted to do, then I said, ‘OK, it’s time to go to work because you can’t achieve it by just saying it,'” she told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday. “You have to want it. And you have to put the time in.”

Edmunds, a one-time college track star and wife of former NFL tight end Ferrell Edmunds, laughed at the memory, because in no way did she anticipate how things would unfold.

Not only are all three sons playing in the NFL, they’ll all be on the field Sunday when the Buffalo Bills (9-4) travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) in a prime-time showdown of AFC playoff contenders.

The Steelers feature two of the Edmunds, with Terrell a second-year starting safety and Trey a backup running back and special teams contributor. The Bills’ defense is anchored by second-year middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Edmunds will become the first trio of brothers to appear in the same NFL game since Joe, Cobb and Bill Rooney all played for the Duluth Eskimos in 1927.

“It is iconic. It’s spectacular. It’s amazing. It’s a blissful event,” Felicia Edmunds said.

“I’m going to root for both teams,” she added, before cracking a joke. “This will be the first time for me that no matter what call the refs make, it will not be a wrong call in my book.”

The same, of course, can’t be said for the Edmunds brothers.

Growing up competitive whether playing tackle football in the backyard or pickup basketball, they’re eagerly awaiting to take their sibling rivalry onto a national stage.

“I think the easiest way to put it I guess is bragging rights,” Buffalo’s Tremaine Edmunds said, recalling how there would be times they couldn’t make it up the basketball court without someone tackling the other. “Every time we step foot and do something, the only goal in our mind is to win. And nothing’s going to change on Sunday.”

Asked how long the loser or losers will hear about it, he answered: “Probably until we play again.”

Terrell Edmunds is curious about the rooting interests involving a busload of family members expected to attend the game.

“It’s going to be funny to see how they’re going to split it up,” he said. “It’s a home game for us. Hopefully they pick the right jersey to wear.”

A family dinner is planned for Saturday, and the three plan to swap jerseys following the game.

In between, all bets are off for the Edmunds, who are separated by 3 1/2 years. They all played college at Virginia Tech, though Trey eventually completed his career by transferring to Maryland.

Trey, the oldest, at 24 was the first to reach the NFL. He was signed as an unrestricted free agent with New Orleans in 2017, and is in his second year in Pittsburgh.

Tremaine and Terrell previously made history by becoming the first brothers selected in the first round of the same draft. Buffalo traded up to pick Tremaine 16th overall, while the Steelers took Terrell 28th.

Trey Edmunds recalled he’s been tackled by Terrell in practice at college, but doesn’t believe he’s ever been tackled by Tremaine outside of their backyard.

Terrell recalled how Trey would win most of the battles because he was the biggest of the three through high school.

“Trey was pretty much the big dog running around the house,” Terrell said, when asked which of his two brothers might have the edge Sunday. “I guess we’re going to have to see. One of them has to win.”

Same goes for the teams.

The Bills can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. The Steelers have won seven of eight to climb into the race for one of the AFC’s two wild-card berths.

Bills coach Sean McDermott credited Edmunds’ parents for the job they’ve done raising Tremaine, who has matured into a team leader at 21.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin also credited the players’ parents, while particularly noting Felicia who goes by the nickname, “Cookie.”

Tomlin broke into a laugh when asked to recall whether Terrell or Tremaine did most of the talking during the Steelers’ pre-draft visit to Virginia Tech.

“The mom,” Tomlin said. “Cookie Edmunds runs the show.”

Looking back, Tremaine can appreciate those early morning workout sessions run by their mother. Difficult as it was to sometimes get out of bed, they proved invaluable in helping all three get this far.

“If there was ever a time when one of us probably didn’t feel like doing something, we could always lean on the other one to somehow bring it out of us,” he said.

“Everybody, I think, needs somebody to push them to that next level, and I think that’s one thing that we all did,” Tremaine Edmunds said. “We’d push each other to be better men, just everything. I can’t thank them enough.”

___

Former teammates McDermott, Tomlin lead Bills, Steelers

Former college teammates Sean McDermott and Mike Tomlin will hold a reunion of sorts when the Buffalo Bills visit the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McDermott and Tomlin played together at William & Mary in the early 1990s. Now they”re on opposing sidelines as the coaches of two teams trying to reach the playoffs. 

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