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Pittsburgh at Buffalo

Edwards sharp, Bills edge Steelers in Toronto preseason game

CBSSports.com wire reports

TORONTO -- Trent Edwards might not know all the words to O, Canada, just yet, but the quarterback sure hit all the right notes in helping the Buffalo Bills make a successful debut in their new northern home away from home.

Shaking off a sluggish performance in the Bills' preseason opener last week, Edwards was near-perfect in two series, going 9-for-11 for 104 yards and two touchdowns, in Buffalo's 24-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

It happened at Toronto's Rogers Centre, and allowed the Bills to make a strong first impression in kicking off their five-year, eight-game series in Canada's largest city and financial capital.

The small-market franchise has adopted the city as its second home to generate additional revenue. The Bills will become the NFL's first franchise to begin playing an annual regular-season game outside the United States when they face AFC East rival Miami at Toronto on Dec. 7.

On Thursday, all that was missing was Edwards singing the national anthem to make the "Northern Exposure" outing complete.

"Well, I don't know all the words to that song, but I'll say this: We're very excited just in the fact that we feel we improved off last week's performance," Edwards said, referring to a forgettable outing in which he went 1-of-5 for 18 yards in a 17-14 loss at Washington last weekend.

Against the Steelers, Edwards overcame adversity, three times converting third-down situations, including a 22-yard scamper up the middle to erase a third-and-11 deep in Bills territory. He showed he could go deep, opening the game with a 33-yard pass to Lee Evans. And Edwards showed great touch in hitting tight end Robert Royal for both scores, including a 13-yarder to cap an 11-play, 90-yard drive.

Of those 90 yards, Edwards accounted for 79.

Fullback Darian Barnes was certainly impressed with the offense and Edwards, the 2007 third-round draft pick who took over the starting job ahead of J.P. Losman midway through last season.

"Polished. He seemed very very polished," Barnes said. "It almost wasn't really a surprise because you see him do it in practice, and he came out and had such a command over the offense. It's a good feeling."

The Bills sealed the win when rookie first-round draft pick Leodis McKelvin scored on an electric 95-yard kickoff return immediately after Pittsburgh cut it to 17-14 on Rashard Mendenhall's 6-yard run

The Steelers (1-1) were inconsistent, lacking finish on both offense and defense in suffering their first loss in four preseason trips north of the border.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a solid outing, going 9-of-11 for 142 yards with a touchdown -- a 40-yarder to Santonio Holmes -- in three series.

More focus was on the Steelers' backup situation, with newly signed Byron Leftwich making his first appearance after Charlie Batch broke his collarbone in a 16-10 win over Philadelphia last week.

Leftwich completed his first attempt, a 24-yarder over the middle to Nate Washington, but then proved inconsistent, looking like someone who had only three days to pick up the Steelers offense.

The former Jacksonville starter finished 5-of-11 for 41 yards during six series.

"I got my feet wet," said Leftwich, who made his first on-field appearance since losing the starting job in Atlanta to Joey Harrington following a 31-7 loss to Tampa Bay on Nov. 18. "As comfortable as you can feel with two days (of practice), I think some good things happened, though."

Leftwich did acknowledge he had to ask Mendenhall about how a play went.

"He sat there and just smiled and we laughed about it. But those things happen," Leftwich said.

Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged he put Leftwich in a tough situation this week.

"I think it was a nice start for him. We'll see where it goes," Tomlin said.

The announced attendance of 48,434 was about 5,000 short of capacity, and considered a disappointment for series organizers, who are paying the Bills an average $9.75 million per game to show the NFL that Toronto can be home to a permanent franchise. Steep ticket prices, ranging from $75 to $575, didn't help. Hours before the game, fans were purchasing tickets with a $575 face value for as little as $90.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Marshawn Lynch, who finishes with 25 yards on five carries, tries to get by LB Larry Foote.  (US Presswire)
Marshawn Lynch, who finishes with 25 yards on five carries, tries to get by LB Larry Foote. (US Presswire)


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Thurs. Aug. 14Final
PIT - Pass: B. Roethlisberger (9-11, 142), Rec: D. Baker (3-57)
BUF - Pass: T. Edwards (9-11, 104), Rec: L. Evans (3-55)
Scoring Summary
TDRobert Royal, 7 Yd pass from Trent Edwards (Rian Lindell kick is good), 5:03. Drive: 10 plays, 67 yards in 4:55.
TDRobert Royal, 13 Yd pass from Trent Edwards (Rian Lindell kick is good), 9:43. Drive: 11 plays, 90 yards in 6:43.
TDSantonio Holmes, 40 Yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed kick is good), 6:26. Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards in 3:17.
FGRian Lindell 43 Yd, 9:33. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards in 5:27.
TDRashard Mendenhall, 6 Yd run (Jeff Reed kick is good), 1:51. Drive: 5 plays, 18 yards in 2:33.
TDLeodis McKelvin, 95 Yd kick return (Rian Lindell kick is good), 1:38.
TDDennis Dixon, 47 Yd run (Jeff Reed kick is good), 4:31. Drive: 4 plays, 56 yards in 2:20.
B. Roethlisberger9/1114211
D. Dixon6/157900
B. Leftwich5/114100
D. Dixon254147
R. Mendenhall113019
W. Parker51407
G. Russell31006
J. Vincent1000
D. Baker357025
S. Holmes253140
H. Ward348024
N. Washington230024
M. Spaeth223016
W. Reid32109
M. Moore114014
L. Sweed2907
W. Parker1404
B. Latsko1303
T. Edwards9/1110420
J. Losman4/51900
M. Baker1/2300
X. Omon1044014
D. Wright731016
M. Lynch525011
T. Edwards122022
B. Hall319010
F. Jackson51806
L. Evans355023
R. Royal220213
R. Parrish219015
F. Jackson31005
M. Lynch1808
D. Wright1606
F. Huggins1505
J. Evans1303
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
OAK 16 Final
TEN 17
CLE 34 Final
NYG 37
NE 10 Final
TB 27
DET 27 Final
CIN 10
CHI 26 Final
SEA 29
GB 6 Final
SF 34
DAL 13 Final
DEN 23
SD 6 Final
HOU 31 Final
NO 27
ARI 27 Final
KC 17
MIA 19 Final
JAC 14
MIN 23 Final
BAL 15
IND 16 Final
WAS 13 Final
NYJ 10
CAR 13 Final
PHI 24