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Benigni Take2: Fourth-down blunders derail Bills in season opener

The Bills struggled to convert on two fourth-down opportunities that were critical to the outcome in their 23-16 loss to the Steelers in Week 1.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — When a team calls and often fails to effectively execute a play in the NFL, you can usually at least figure out what they were trying to do. 

That was far from the case with 13 minutes, 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter Sunday in Orchard Park.

The Bills faced a fourth-and-1 at the Steeler 41-yard line and decided to go for it. Allen threw the ball back to running back Matt Breida before Pittsburgh blew the play up for a 7-yard loss.    

Head coach Sean McDermott was as short on explanation as the Bills were on execution when asked about it after the game. 

"You mean the one where we threw it backwards? I have to do a better job on that too," he said.

It's not surprising that McDermott would, in that case somewhat begrudgingly, take responsibility for all aspects of a loss. When pressed further on the issue, McDermott played things close to the vest. 

"I'll get into it to a certain extent here, but I'm not going to get into it any further than I have to. I'm the head coach. I'm the leader of this football team. We've got to do a better job. ... I've got to do a better job in that situation. I'll leave it at that."

Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll speaks to the media on Monday. We would expect more of an explanation then. 

What's painfully obvious is that play, combined with a fourth-and-8 Buffalo failed to convert in the third quarter, led to 10 Steelers points as they took control of the game in the second half.

Those were two examples of the Bills doing so much to beat themselves in the 23-16 loss. "Mike Tomlin and his team came in here and outcoached us and outplayed us."

McDermott says he has full confidence in the entire football team as they prepare for a Week 2 game at Miami.