The Buffalo Bills were part of the American Football League that was set up in 1960 to rival the NFL. Ten years later both leagues merged and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bills have met 26 times since. Pittsburgh has won 16 of those games while the Bills have the edge in Buffalo 7-6.
In the seventies, while the Steelers were winning four Super Bowls they dominated the exchanges 5-1. The following decade saw the Bills reverse the position as they won four while the Steelers could only muster the one win.
The nineties saw the teams split the series 4-4 before the Steelers regained control at the turn of the century winning six before losing 17-10 last year.
For this week’s featured history game, we turn to 2010. After ten games of the season, the top of the AFC North was evenly balanced as the Steelers and Ravens battled it out with both teams on 7-3.
The Steelers traveled as 6.5-point favorites to Buffalo. The (2-8) Bills had lost their opening eight games before they beat the Lions and overwhelmed the Bengals 49-31 after trailing 28-7.
The Bills head coach was Chan Gailey, who had been installed at the beginning of the year. The former offensive coordinator with Steelers in 1996-97 also served two years as the Dallas head coach. 5-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Bills’ quarterback replacing Trent Edwards after the first two games.
On the Steelers side of the ball, Coach Tomlin finally lost patience with kicker Jeff Reed after he had missed seven of his twenty-two field goal attempts. Reed also hadn’t endeared himself to the organization through his off-field antics. The Steelers signed journeyman Shaun Suisham, who began life in the NFL with the Steelers in 2005 before being released.
The Steelers at the Bills November 28th 2010
The Steelers began will, taking a 13-0 lead into the locker room at half time. Rashard Mendenhall rushed 1-yard for a touchdown before Shaun Suisham added field goals from 45 and 46 yards.
The Bills fought back in the third quarter. Fitzpatrick had his bell rung by James Harrison drawing a roughing the passer penalty to extend the Bills’ drive. Three plays later, Fitzpatrick found Fred Jackson with a 65-yard screen pass for a score. Early in the fourth period, Rian Lindell kicked a 29-yard field goal.
As the Steelers pressed to extend their lead, the drive came to an abrupt halt after Mendenhall had the ball ripped from his grasp. The Bills capitalized on the turnover with a 32-yard field goal to tie the game at 13-13.
Despite gifting penalties to their opponent, the Steelers edged back in front with six minutes remaining when Suisham kicked a field goal from 48 yards. The Bills tried hard not to be denied and Lindell kicked a field goal with just two seconds left on the clock to take the game into overtime.
On the Bills second series in overtime, Fitzgerald whipped a 40-yard pass to Stevie Johnson, who had streaked past the Steelers defensive backs. Johnson found himself alone on the goal line. When the ball found its way into his hands, he dropped it.
After the Bills punted, the Steelers began their possession from the twenty. Ben Roethlisberger guided his team to the Bills’ 22. On a third down, Tomlin sent in Suisham to attempt the field goal. The successful kick saw the Steelers triumph 19-16 and move to 8-3 to stay top of the AFC Central.
James Harrison registered his tenth sack on the season making him the first Steelers to register at least ten sacks in three consecutive seasons.
On Shaun Suisham’s four field goals, that included the game winner, Hines Ward observed of his new teammate, “I actually found out his name. He was just known as number 6.” Suisham was more exuberant about his performance, “That was a lot of fun.”
The Steelers finished the season on 12-4 as division champions and advanced to Super Bowl XLV where they lost to the Packers.