Sun Dec 15 11:51pm ET
By DAN SCIFO
Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (81) celebrates with running back Devin Singletary (26) and others after scoring on a pass from quarterback Josh Allen during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (81) scores on a pass from quarterback Josh Allen, running near Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34), during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (81) celebrates his touchdown on a pass from quarterback Josh Allen during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White (27) intercepts a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges pass intended for Diontae Johnson (18) during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) scores during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) strips the ball from Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) and the Steelers recovered during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) scores with Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) defending during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges looks to throw a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) and cornerback Taron Johnson (24) go after a turnover by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. The Bills recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges calls signals during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary, second from right, is stopped short of the goal line by Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Mark Barron, right, outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, left, during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, center, scores on a 1-yard run during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Allen fumbled on the play. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Josh Allen threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft with 7:55 to play and the Buffalo Bills clinched a playoff spot, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-10 on Sunday night.
The Bills secured their second playoff berth in two seasons under coach Sean McDermott, a college teammate with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at William & Mary. Buffalo trailed 10-7, but scored on two possessions in the fourth quarter, as Allen rallied the Bills for a comeback win for the fifth time this season. Consecutive interceptions by Jordan Poyer and Levi Wallace on Pittsburgh's last two possessions sealed the victory.
The surging Steelers had an opportunity to leapfrog the Bills for the top AFC wildcard spot, but Buffalo snapped Pittsburgh's three-game win streak.
Buffalo won for the fourth time in five games and recorded its first 10-win season since 1999. The Bills also beat the Steelers for the second time ever in Pittsburgh, first since a 21-point win in the 1993 AFC Divisional playoff round.
The Bills, who improved to 6-1 on the road, made their first Sunday night appearance in 12 years when they were dismantled by the Patriots in a 46-point loss.
Not this group, led by a No. 3-ranked defense and an opportunistic offense.
The Bills no longer resemble the inept franchise with a revolving door of coaches, general managers and quarterbacks that struggled through a 17-year playoff drought before McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane arrived.
Allen completed 13 of 25 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Allen, who also rushed for a score, has only lost consecutive games once in his career. Kroft scored his first touchdown since 2017 when he played for Cincinnati. Devin Singletary rushed for 87 yards and John Brown caught seven passes for 99 yards. He became Buffalo's first 1,000-yard receiver since 2015.
The Steelers entered with wins in seven of their last eight games since a 1-4 start.
Devlin Hodges completed 23 of 38 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Hodges had a chance to become the first undrafted rookie in the Super Bowl era to win his first four starts.
James Conner played for the first time since missing five of the last six games with a shoulder injury. He finished with 42 yards rushing and caught a touchdown pass.
Pittsburgh scored on the first drive of the second half to take a 10-7 lead.
Hodges opened the series with a 31-yard pass to Diontae Johnson and Conner broke off a 17-yard run, setting up his 11-yard touchdown reception two plays later. The 69-yard touchdown drive came after Pittsburgh totaled 64 yards in the first half.
Tre'Davious White returned his second interception of the game 49 yards to the Pittsburgh 18 late in the third quarter. The Bills couldn't capitalize with a touchdown and instead settled for a 36-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka to tie it.
The Bills took a 17-10 lead on their next possession.
Allen connected with Brown for a 40-yard gain one play after a Pittsburgh punt. Five plays later, Allen found Kroft at the front pylon for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Allen's 1-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter opened the scoring.
Allen's ninth score also established a new single-season franchise record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback. Buffalo took advantage of a short field following a 22-yard punt and converted a fourth down during the 40-yard series.
Pittsburgh trailed 7-3 when Steven Nelson picked off Allen late in the second quarter. A facemask set Pittsburgh up with first-and-goal from the 10, but Johnson fumbled and the Bills recovered to preserve a four-point halftime lead.
NOTES: Allen tied Doug Flutie for the most consecutive games accounting for a touchdown by a Bills quarterback with 20. ... T.J. Watt is the first player in Steelers history with multiple 13-sack seasons. ... Pittsburgh registered at least one sack in 55 straight games, the longest in regular-season franchise history. ... Chris Boswell kicked his 125th career field goal, fourth-most in Steelers history. ... The matchup featured the first trio of brothers - Pittsburgh's Trey and Terrell Edmunds and Buffalo's Tremaine Edmunds - to appear in the same game since 1927.
Bills: Travel to New England on Saturday.
Steelers: Visit the New York Jets on Sunday.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
The Washington Football Team defense had another good game against a banged-up offense as they dominated the Andy Dalton-led Cowboys. Dallas was playing without several starters on the offensive line and Washington took advantage as they sacked Dalton six times with one sack leading to a safety. Cole Holcomb led the charge for Washington with an interception and a sack from the middle linebacker position. In all, Washington allowed three points, recorded six sacks, a safety, and an interception on a great day for fantasy managers. The Football Team will have a bye in Week 8 but have another juicy matchup versus the Giants in Week 9 where they will be a startable unit in fantasy.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had seven catches (13 targets) for 82 yards during the loss to the Browns on Sunday. The veteran recorded another convincing performance against Cleveland while combining for 15 receptions (24 targets) over the team's previous two contests. Although fantasy managers may not see this type of production against the Titans in Week 8, he could have some more favorable outings over Cincy's remaining nine games, especially if Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd continue to open things up for him.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway caught eight of 10 targets for 75 receiving yards in a 27-24 victory over Carolina. Callaway led the team in targets in the absences of both Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Somewhat quietly, the 22-year old rookie has compiled 16 targets over his last two contests. With Sanders definitely out and Thomas's status looking murky, Callaway makes for an interesting waiver add. He did sustain an ankle injury and had to be helped off the field to the locker room. If Callaway's ankle isn't anything serious, fantasy managers should consider him as a streaming option against Chicago.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't fare well in Week 7 despite being matched up against a Washington Football Team that was allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses. The Cowboys defense allowed 23 points, recording two sacks but no turnovers. The Cowboys will take on the Eagles in the battle of bad NFC East defenses next week, where they will not be a recommended fantasy option.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins caught all five of his targets to finish with 71 yards and a touchdown against the Browns on Sunday. The rookie now has three touchdowns on the year, finding the end zone for the first time since Week 3 against the Eagles. With Joe Burrow leading a pass-heavy attack for Cincy, Higgins may continue to benefit, especially with Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green drawing the attention needed to open things up for him over the remaining nine games of his inaugural season.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd caught 11 of his 13 targets to finish the Week 7 matchup against the Browns with 101 yards and a score. After fizzling out against the Colts last Sunday, the 25-year-old recorded one of his most convincing performances of the 2020 campaign. Boyd has now logged at least eight targets in five of Cincy's seven contests and should continue to benefit from the stellar play of rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow. However, things may get difficult for the former Pittsburgh Panther in Week 8 against the Titans, with Tennessee looking to rebound after suffering its first defeat of the year against the Steelers.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein attempted a field goal in Week 7, and it was good for the only three points the Cowboys scored in an ugly 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team. Zuerlein made his kick from 45 yards out and was never on the field on offense again. The Dallas offense is in total shambles, possibly moving Zuerlein out of the top-15 fantasy kickers going forward. He should continue to be solid, but may not get enough opportunities to score significant fantasy points.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup came up empty in a rough Week 7 loss. Gallup was targeted twice but couldn't come down with either pass, ending up with a blank box score and zero fantasy points. Gallup was working as a field stretcher with Dak Prescott around, but now with Andy Dalton and possibly Ben DiNucci throwing the ball for the Cowboys, Gallup seems much more likely to hit the "bust" part of his boom-or-bust fantasy outlook.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas caught all four of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown in a Week 7 win over the Cowboys. Thomas played second-fiddle to Terry McLaurin in the passing game as no other Washington player had more than two targets. Thomas made them count catching several big passes to move the chains while finding the end zone for the third time this season. Thomas has had an up-and-down season but is getting enough weekly targets to be considered a borderline starter in 12-team fantasy leagues. He'll be a touchdown-dependant starter in his next matchup in Week 9 versus the Giants.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard racked up 37 yards off 13 carries during the heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns. He also added five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. The veteran filled in admirably for Joe Mixon (foot), who is considered week-to-week after being injured during the Week 6 encounter with the Colts. At this point, the 28-year-old has likely found a home on fantasy rosters. However, if he is still floating around the waiver wire, managers should pick him up before it's too late, especially if Mixon cannot suit up against the Titans in Week 8. Although Bernard isn't the most efficient runner, he should continue to benefit from the team's pass-heavy offense.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray posted 56 scrimmage yards on 12 total touches in a victory over the Panthers. Murray's 4.3 yards per carry were a bit skewed, as he picked up 25 yards on one run and just 22 yards on the other 10 carries. Still, the opportunity Murray is getting is encouraging for those who have him rostered, as the coaching staff clearly trusts him. It bears repeating, but if something were to happen to Alvin Kamara, Murray would be an easy start as an RB1.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin posted a 7-90-1 line versus the Cowboys to help lead Washington to a win over their division rival. The sophomore receiver was a huge part of the game plan against a bad Dallas secondary as McLaurin was targeted 11 times, his fourth game this season with double-digit targets. It could have been an even bigger game for McLaurin but he came up inches short of the goal line on his first catch of the game. He made up for it a couple of drives later as he torched Trevon Diggs for a 52-yard score. McLaurin doesn't operate in the NFL's most electrifying offense, but his combination of skill and target-floor make him one of the best WR options in fantasy. He'll have another solid matchup with the Giants in Week 9 after the bye.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara carried the ball 14 times for 83 rushing yards and caught all eight targets for 65 receiving yards in a 27-24 win. The 83 rushing yards tied a season-high for Kamara, as the running room was easy to find against Carolina's ground defense. Amazingly, the star halfback has exceeded 100 scrimmage yards in every game but one- and he ended up with two scores in that contest to salvage his day. There might be no better player to roster in fantasy football right now, so managers should keep riding the Kamara wave into a Week 8 contest against a Bears Defense that can be had on the ground.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) will have an MRI performed on Monday. The veteran was forced out of Sunday's matchup against the Bengals after injuring his left knee in the first quarter. Although the team fears the worst, fantasy managers should wait until official confirmation before hitting the panic button. Heading into Week 7, the 27-year-old grabbed 23 of his 42 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made two catches in Week 7, gaining 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Schultz ended up second on the team in both catches and receiving yards. He was targeted four times in a game in which the Cowboys couldn't do much of anything on offense. Even if Andy Dalton (head) is able to play next week, Schultz may be no better than a mid-range TE2. Things are rough on both sides of the ball in Dallas right now.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was targeted five times in an ugly Week 7 loss, failing to catch any of those targets. He was given one carry and gained one yard. In standard scoring leagues, Lamb put up just 0.1 fantasy points. It was a bad game for pretty much everyone in a Cowboys uniform. Even if Andy Dalton (head) isn't forced to miss time, Lamb and all of the Cowboys pass catchers are getting a huge downgrade compared to when Dak Prescott (ankle) was under center.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan caught only two passes for 32 yards in the Packers 35-20 romp over the Texans in Week 7. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was generous with his offensive distribution but Tonyan was unable to enjoy the fruits of the teams prosperity. Fantasy teams that raced to pick up Tonyan after his three-touchdown performance in Week 4 have been rewarded with only five catches for 57 yards over the last two weeks. Tonyan's fantasy value will continue to sink heading into Week 8.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper had the only remotely productive offensive game for the Cowboys in Week 7. He caught seven passes for 80 yards and added a carry for five more yards on the ground. Cooper was targeted seven times and caught everything sent his way. He ended up leading the team in catches, targets, and yards all by a significant margin. It was a rough game for the Cowboys in all aspects, but in the "someone has to catch the ball" situations that the Cowboys may have going forward, Cooper is the most likely to be that "someone". Cooper will remain a volume-based WR2 option regardless of the Cowboys quarterback situation going forward.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers 35-20 win over the Texans in Week 7. Adams simply could not be stopped, wreaking havoc all over the field with his team-high 16 targets in the game. The Packers offense simply is a different beast when Adams is on the field, as the star receiver now has two enormous fantasy performances under his belt this season. Adams heads into Week 8 with 36 receptions for 449 yards and four touchdowns through only four games this season.
Another week, another touchdown reception for Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V, who now has one in five consecutive games. It seems like his Week 2 game where he wasn't targeted triggered some kind of change in this offense. Fuller finished Sunday's loss to Green Bay with three catches for 35 yards and the score. He wasn't as involved as he had been recently, but if Fuller can keep having such a nose for the end zone, he'll be a solid WR2 play moving forward for fantasy managers.