The Steelers rolled up 359 yards of offense and limited Buffalo to 135, whipping the Bills, 17-0, here at Heinz Field Saturday night in an effort befitting the defending Super Bowl champions.
"It was a productive outing for us," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "It's great when you can pitch a shutout, even in August. We're not going to overanalyze it. … But there were a lot of good things. I was pleased with the effort collectively in terms of being where we are."
Ben Roethlisberger, showing no ill effects from the Achilles tendon injury that kept him sidelined last week against Washington, was particularly sharp. Roethlisberger completed 15 of 19 passes for 168 yards.
"I like the way we're moving it," said Roethlisberger. "I see some good things, but I still see some things where the Steelers are beating the Steelers."
Not on this night.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall, subbing for Willie Parker, who sat out with a sore hamstring, had 64 total yards and scored one a four-yard run in the second quarter. Mendenhall, did, however lose a fumble – a problem that plagued him in the 2008 preseason – to end Pittsburgh's opening possession deep in Buffalo territory.
"They had some penetration on that play," said Tomlin, not blaming Mendenhall for the fumble.
As good as the offense looked, the defense was arguably better.
Buffalo's first-team offense – playing without star wide receiver Terrell Owens – was limited to 50 yards and three first downs in the first half, never crossing midfield.
Moments earlier, the Steelers had driven to the Buffalo 12 before Roethlisberger was sacked by rookie Aaron Maybin, the Bills' first-round draft pick, for a four-yard loss. Peter Czech – subbing for Jeff Reed, who was out with a sore ankle – booted a 34-yard field goal to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.
The domination continued throughout the second half, as the Steelers continued to move the ball at will – at least until they got into the red zone.
But Czech pulled a 40-yard field goal attempt wide right to end one possession deep in Buffalo territory, while rookie running back Issac Redman was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-one from the Bills' 27 to end another.
Buffalo threatened to get on the scoreboard with 2:48 remaining in the game when second-string quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills to the Pittsburgh 14, but rookie cornerback Joe Burnett got a hand on Ryan Lindell's 33-yard field goal attempt, deflecting it and turning the ball over to the Steelers.
Return man Stefan Logan again showed up in a big way, averaging 15.8 yards on four punt returns.
"We'd have liked to have gotten him a kickoff return, but I'm not going to complain," said Tomlin. "He's earned the right to continue to be watched and we'll take him down to Charlotte (on Thursday) and see what he has down there."
The only injury of note suffered by the Steelers occurred to linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who suffered a sprained left ankle on the first possession of the second half. Timmons did not return and is questionable to play against Carolina Thursday.