Diontae Johnson dropped passes that led to his temporary benching. James Conner was completely ineffective on the ground, gaining 18 yards and 10 carries. The Steelers' defense couldn't do much to stop Stefon Diggs, who exploded for 130 yards and a score on 10 catches.
But if the postgame reaction from sports media is any indication, JuJu Smith-Schuster's impact on the game may have been the most detrimental — and it was due to an occurrence that took place before the game even started.
Okay, so that may have been an exaggeration. Buffalo might have won regardless of whether or not JuJu danced on their logo. The score still could have ended up 26-15 in favor of the now 10-3 Bills whether or not we saw the Tik Tok star do his thing at midfield.
But who knows... maybe it really did give the Bills defense some extra motivation to hand the Steelers their second loss of the season. It's not unheard of — in fact, we saw an example of a pregame occurrence propelling a player's performance in the NFL not so long ago.
And for former wide receiver Brandon Marshall, antics like these are hard to support, even for those who like Smith-Schuster.
"I hate to say it this way... this is AB-like," Marshall said on "First Things First", referencing former Steeler and troubled wideout Antonio Brown. "Now, it's a different way of distracting the team, but he does this every week. And I don't understand it. I don't get it.
"JuJu is a great kid. JuJu is a socialite, he's a guy that loves entertaining, but now you go too far when you're disrespecting teams. Like, why? What do you get out of going to the opposing team's logo before the game and dancing on it... JuJu, come on, man. I just don't get it. It's a distraction."
Of course, there's a *slight* difference between dancing on an opposing team's logo and getting engaged in all sorts of legal troubles, but Marshall seems to be placing the emphasis on the fact that in either situation, the result is that it acts as a distraction for the rest of the team. For the most part, though, I can see how it'd be a tough comparison to stomach. Smith-Schuster has proven to be an excellent teammate and leader for the Steelers, both on and off the field.
“I just think he brings a can-do attitude always,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told Bob Labriola of Steelers.com. “He doesn’t look at a problem and ponder the problem. He ponders the possibilities. There’s an outlook that’s contagious and is helpful, particularly to the inexperienced.”
Regarding his social media presence and on-field celebrations, Tomlin says that the perception of any immaturity in Smith-Schuster is "so far from the truth."
"Anybody who knows him, his teammates know he is an energy-bringer, he is a team player first," Tomlin said. "In celebration of his 24th birthday on that Sunday, they had a celebration and it was on a Chase Claypool touchdown. And that just speaks to the type of guy he is, and if people miss that, then that's a shame."
Smith-Schuster isn't the only big-name AFC North player who has taken criticism from Marshall recently. In a similar light, Marshall said that he "wouldn't want to play" with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield due to his outspoken nature and antics.