The Buffalo Bills aren't overly concerned following another inconsistent and disappointing offensive performance in their third preseason game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the first-team offense found the end zone once in the team's 38-7 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday night and came up far short on several other occasions. But the QB and his coach believe the Bills are still heading in the right direction with the regular season around the corner.
“I feel really good, to be honest, I really do,” Fitzpatrick said. “I've got a lot of confidence in myself and the group, and I know those guys have a lot of confidence too. Hopefully you guys will have something to write about for the next few weeks, but hopefully when we get to play the Jets and we start the real stuff then we'll start keeping score.”
“I'm not disappointed,” coach Chan Gailey said. “I thought that we did some good things.”
Both of Buffalo's starting units began the game on the right foot. The Bills held the Steelers to three-and-outs on their first two possessions and found the end zone on offense on their second attempt. A 25-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to WR David Nelson set up Fred Jackson's 1-yard score.
But things went downhill after that. Fitzpatrick fell out of a rhythm, locked on to WR Stevie Johnson and struggled to mount much of an attack throughout the rest of the half. Buffalo's offensive possessions in the second quarter went three-and-out, lost fumble, six-and-out and three-and-out. Fitzpatrick was 7 of 18 for 89 yards in one half of action.
Fitzpatrick's struggles could partly be attributed to Buffalo's continued problems along the offensive line. The line had trouble in pass protection against a potent Steelers pass rush and the QB took several shots in the pocket.
Buffalo's front four on defense showed its potential early on. Prized free-agent acquisition Mario Williams had two sacks, and the Bills generated some good pressure up front. But the starting defense faltered at the end of the half, allowing a 98-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes.
“We started out very well on defense,” LB Nick Barnett said. “We were very physical in the run [game]. Up to that last drive, we really were playing very sound and mental-error-free football. We have to keep it up.”
“We got a little rattled,” Gailey said. “We've got to hold our composure better than we did.”
Young disappoints: Vince Young appeared to stake his claim on the No. 2 QB job with his impressive performance against Minnesota one week ago. Against the Steelers, he took a significant step backward. Young was 12 of 26 for 103 yards with two interceptions. As planned, Tyler Thigpen, who is competing with Young for the primary backup role, did not play.
Injury update: Unlike the Steelers, the Bills suffered no significant injuries in the game. CB Terrence McGee (knee) saw his first action this preseason but was beat for a long touchdown on his first snap. First-round pick Stephon Gilmore left the game with a leg cramp late in the first half but said he'll be fine. DE Mark Anderson (groin) and RT Erik Pears (groin) did not play.
For more updates on the Bills follow correspondent Mark Ludwiczak on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLBUF and @MarkLud12.