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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Allen's fourth-quarter TD clinches playoff spot for Bills

Sun Dec 15 11:51pm ET
By DAN SCIFO
Associated Press

Players: Steven Hauschka, John Brown, Chris Boswell, Tyler Kroft, James Conner, Devlin Hodges, Josh Allen, Diontae Johnson, Devin Singletary

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.

UP NEXT

Bills: Travel to New England on Saturday.

Steelers: Visit the New York Jets on Sunday.

Player Notes
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