Bills first-team offense keeps backfiring

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The Buffalo Bills' strutted into the preseason schedule with serious offensive weaponry, bandoliers strapped across their chests and looking dangerous at the skill positions.

Through four preseason games, their first unit is firing nothing but blanks.

Buffalo's starters have yet to score a touchdown in the preseason. They were shut out again Saturday night in a 17-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Despite opening camp a week earlier than almost half the teams in the league, playing an extra game and running a no-huddle offense that theoretically should give defenses extra trouble, the Bills have been flummoxed.

In fact, they have been on the field for more points against than points scored.

Granted, the Steelers are the defending Super Bowl champs and the Bills were without star receiver Terrell Owens for a third straight game. But a team that's under pressure to win this year needs to look better than this. They've even been playing with Marshawn Lynch, who will be suspended the first three games.

Bills first-teamers have played a total of 78 plays over 16 series, netting 269 yards. Their possessions have ended in nine punts, three interceptions, one fumble and one field goal.

The average possession has lasted 4.9 plays and gained 16.8 yards.

  • Hall of Fame Game against the Tennessee Titans: one series, nine plays, 50 net yards for an interception.

  • Week 1 vs. the Chicago Bears: three series, 25 plays, 108 yards for punt, punt, field goal.

  • Week 2 at the Green Bay Packers: five series, 24 plays, 50 yards for interception, fumble, punt, fumble, punt.

  • Week 3 at the Steelers: seven series, 20 plays, 61 yards for punt, punt, interception, punt, punt, halftime, punt. The possession right before halftime was only one play for no yards, but it was a completed pass to Dominic Rhodes, who fumbled out of bounds.

Bills quarterback Trent Edwards was 6 of 13 for 31 yards and a disquieting interception Steelers linebacker James Farrior returned for a touchdown.

Two other notable stats from Saturday: The Bills' failed to convert any of their eight third downs, and their time of possession was 18:45. Not for first-team possessions, but for the whole game.