NFL Preseason Preview - Pittsburgh (1-1) at Buffalo (0-2)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Steelers appear closer to getting their core
group back together for the upcoming regular season, though the team will
still be without some significant star power for its bout with the Buffalo
Bills from Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Steelers opened camp with several big names on the physically unable to
perform list, with running back Rashard Mendenhall, nose tackle Casey Hampton
and offensive tackle Max Starks all making their way back from ACL tears and
dominating outside linebacker James Harrison hobbled by a knee problem. Though
Harrison remains sidelined following a recent scope, the other three have all
been activated off the PUP list within the past two weeks.
Mendenhall still won't be ready for Pittsburgh's Week 1 matchup at Denver on
Sept. 9, with October the more realistic target date for the two-time 1,000-
yard rusher. Left tackle Starks has a chance to be back in action for
Saturday's contest, however, which would bolster a front line that's had to
undergo quite a bit of reshuffling thus far in camp.
The Steelers may be getting a welcome return from Mike Wallace in the near
future as well, with multiple reports indicating that the holdout wide
receiver plans to sign his contract offer and rejoin the team as soon as this
Isaac Redman will serve as Pittsburgh's primary running back until Mendenhall
is available, though the capable understudy is dealing with a nagging groin
injury that kept him out of Sunday's 26-24 win over Indianapolis. Jonathan
Dwyer drew the start in Redman's place and performed well, gaining a game-high
43 yards on eight carries.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception on the Steelers' opening
drive, but bounced back with a 57-yard touchdown strike to wideout Antonio
Brown and finished his night 5-of-9 for 81 yards.
Pittsburgh's seasoned defense picked off Colts rookie sensation Andrew Luck
twice in the first half, with cornerback Ike Taylor taking his interception 49
yards for a touchdown late in the opening quarter.
The Bills will be seeking to bounce back from last week's 36-14 loss at
Minnesota, though an offense that struggled to move the ball in the preseason
opener did show some encouraging signs.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was a sharp 8-of-11 for 58 yards and connected
with wide receiver Donald Jones for a 31-yard touchdown midway through the
second quarter. Offseason addition Vince Young, vying to be Buffalo's No. 2
option under center, may have sewn up the job after going 8-for-14 for 123
yards in relief of Fitzpatrick.
Bills head coach Chan Gailey announced a winner in another key camp
competition on Tuesday, declaring rookie second-round pick Cordy Glenn the
starter at left tackle for the club's Sept. 9 skirmish against the New York
Buffalo also made some headlines earlier in the week by releasing former NFL
Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne Merriman, limited to a mere 23 games over
the last four seasons due to constant injury problems, on Monday.
Saturday's game will be the first preseason meeting between these teams since
2009, when Pittsburgh posted a 17-0 shutout at Heinz Field to extend its lead
in the overall exhibition series to 6-2. The Steelers also prevailed in their
most recent regular-season clash with the Bills, a 19-16 overtime verdict
during Week 12 of the 2010 campaign.
08/23 09:56:11 ET
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