The Buffalo Bills have been well above average in short-yardage situations this season, despite two ill-timed failures.
The Bills failed near the goal-line in the loss to Cincinnati, and they saw Kansas City return an interception 100 yards for a touchdown last Sunday.
Overall, however, the Bills rank eighth in the NFL on percentage of conversions on third and 1 or 2, at 68.5 percent. The Bills have converted 24 of 35 in those situations. The league average is 59 percent.
On running plays in situations of third and 1 or 2, the Bills are tied for ninth best in the NFL, with a conversion percentage of 75.0 – converting 15 of 20 run plays.
The teams with the best percentages overall on third and 1 or 2:
1. Washington 77.7. 2. Philadelphia 75.0. 3. Houston 73.6. 4. San Francisco 73.0. 5. Cincinnati 72.7.
Buffalo’s big problem is overall production in the red zone (inside the opposition’s 20). The Bills rank 31st in percentage of touchdowns on possessions that crack the opposition’s 20.
Bills coach Doug Marrone on the key to stopping the two-game losing streak.
“I spoke to the team about ‘Hey, here is what we are doing well and can improve on, but these are the two areas that are really getting us right now.’ One of them is, obviously, the turnovers. We are minus-6 in the last two games. ... We were getting about two takeaways per game from the defensive side. But we were not able to get any takeaways in our last two games. ...
“On red zone touchdowns, we are 31st in the league at 42 percent. So for us we are going to have to make some changes and do some different things in the red zone because we have to be more successful.”
Marrone said he is pessimistic about the chances of receiver Robert Woods (ankle) facing the Steelers. Receiver Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) did some work on the side Wednesday but did not practice. Marrone said Goodwin should be limited today and the team will see how his hamstring responds.
Eight Steelers starters showed up on the injury report. Cornerback Ike Taylor and inside linebacker Vince Williams both sat out due to concussions. Limited in practice were starting tackles Kevin Beachum (knee) and Marcus Gilbert (ankle), center Fernando Velasco (thigh) and tight end Heath Miller (not injury related). Full practice players were guard David DeCastro (knee) and defensive end Cam Heyward (knee).
The Bills are 1-7 at Pittsburgh in the regular season. Their only win came in 1975, when O.J. Simpson rushed for 227 yards against the Steel Curtain defense. The Bills won a playoff game at Pittsburgh, 24-3, in January 1993. Buffalo’s last visit to Heinz Field was in 2007 and resulted in a 26-3 loss.