PITTSBURGH -- Almost from the day Todd Haley was hired as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator prior to the 2012 season, Ben Roethlisberger lobbied for more no-huddle offense.
The veteran quarterback got his wish Saturday night and made the most of it, throwing two first-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Steelers to a 19-16 preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Shaun Suisham kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Steelers (1-1).
The Bills (1-2) lost Sammy Watkins to a rib contusion in the first quarter, and the rookie wide receiver will undergo further tests Sunday. Buffalo traded up to the fourth overall pick in May to draft Watkins, an All-American at Clemson.
The winning score was set up when Bills reserve quarterback Jeff Tuel was sacked by Steelers linebacker Vic So'oto and fumbled. Linebacker Howard Jones picked up the loose ball and returned it 19 yards to the Buffalo 1-yard line.
Roethlisberger threw a scoring pass in the first quarter to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who turned a 10-yard slant pattern into a 76-yard touchdown. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass later in the quarter to put the Steelers ahead 13-3.
Roethlisberger, who played the first three possessions before giving way to third-stringer Landry Jones, completed eight of 11 passes for 128 yards. The Steelers played almost exclusively without huddling while the first-team offense was in the game.
"I thought it was good," Roethlisberger said. "It's about communicating with Todd. He's in my ear telling me different thoughts. That's how this thing should work. I thought we did a good job. The communication was what I wanted to work on, and we didn't have mental errors. It was a good start to the no-huddle."
Brown was also pleased with how the Steelers' offense performed while playing at a quick pace.
"We were able to move down the field with no mental errors," Brown said. "Ben had to be (fluid) in regards to knowing our assignments and playing fast."
The Bills appeared to be taken by surprise by the Steelers' no-huddle offense and took a while to adjust defensively.
"We came out a little slow," Buffalo cornerback Nickell Robey said. "We definitely could have come out with a lot more intensity."
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, a first-round draft pick this year from Ohio State, played with plenty of intensity in his preseason debut. He made a game-high nine tackles and set up Roethlisberger's second touchdown pass with a 27-yard fumble return. He missed the exhibition opener with a right knee injury.
"I thought he did an awesome job for his first game back from injury," Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. "He made a few big plays for us. He's a guy that I've seen that is willing to put his hand in the pile. I'm looking forward to playing with him."
The Bills' first-team offense played the entire first half but produced just two field goals by kicker Dan Carpenter, from 37 yards in the first quarter and 53 yards in the second period. He also kicked a 44-yarder with 1:56 remaining in the game that drew Buffalo into a brief 16-16 tie after Suisham put the Steelers ahead with a 48-yard field goal with 9:26 to go.
The Bills tied the score 13-13 on running back Anthony Dixon's 1-yard touchdown plunge with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Ahead 13-6, the Steelers held the Bills on downs at the 3-yard line with 28 seconds left in the first half. Free safety Robert Golden broke up a fourth-down pass by Manuel at the goal line that was intended for tight end Scott Chandler.
"It would have been good if we would have finished with a touchdown on one of those drives," Chandler said. "Wish we would have made it on that last one."
NOTES: The teams held joint practices Wednesday and Thursday at the Steelers' training camp in Latrobe, Pa. ... LB Jarvis Jones, a first-round draft pick last year, was among the players who did not dress for the Steelers. The others were S Will Allen, CB Devin Smith, CB Shaquille Richardson, FB Will Johnson, LB Jordan Zumwalt, LS Greg Warren and TE Matt Spaeth. ... G Chris Williams, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, did not dress for the Bills due to a back injury. The other inactive Buffalo players were K Dustin Hopkins, CB Leodis McKelvin, S Jonathan Meeks, LB Ty Powell, TE Tony Moeaki and WR Marquise Goodwin. ... Next week, the Steelers visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. The Bills host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday afternoon
By John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: August 16, 2014 10:54:12 PM
Steelers' no-huddle offense hums in win over Bills
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