Pittsburgh Steelers 41 Atlanta Falcons 17
(Pittsburgh, PA) The main concern about the Atlanta Falcons was whether the Pittsburgh Steelers could contain their high-powered offense for 60 minutes. After all, their defense hasn’t shown any signs of consistency after losses to Kansas City and Baltimore.
But as they say, “On any given Sunday, anything can happen,”Which certainly happened Sunday as the Steelers dominated the Falcons 41-17 in front of 64,781 at Heinz Field. Unlike the previous home games , everyone goes home happy.
“Great team victory.”Said Steelers HC Mike Tomlin. “I thought the significant element of play was our big people on offense and defense. We were able to run the ball, we were able to minimize their running game, we were able to protect or quarterback, we were able to get after theirs, so I thought they provided the wave that our football team rode largely throughout-but a lot of quality efforts, a good football team win. First win at home.”
Running Back James Conner shook off his 19-yard performance vs. the Ravens and responded with a 110 yard 2-TD effort, which also included 75 yards receiving to lead the Steelers. He also benefited from stellar play from the offensive line which gladly welcomed Guard David DeCastro and Tackle Marcus Gilbert back and key blocking (including a punt-block) from Full Back Roosevelt Nix to complete a team effort.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was also stellar as he went 19 for 19 for 250 yards, 3 TDs and an interception. 2 of those TDs went to Wide out Antonio Brown who also had 101 yards on 6 receptions, including a 47-yard TD. JuJu Smith-Shuster caught Big Ben’s other TD pass as he hauled in an 18-yarder that evoked memories of Hall of Famer Lynn Swann.
“It was awesome”Said Big Ben “I thought we were really balanced today. It was one of those games that we could be, and it starts with the O-line. They were fantastic today. They opened holes for Conner and Stevan Ridley and protected me in the pass game. So, I thought they had such a phenomenal game.”
As for the Steelers defense, they truly rose up to the occasion by limiting the Falcons to 17 points and they even scored a TD of their own when Linebacker TJ Watt sacked Falcons QB Matt Ryan who fumbled, and the ball was recovered by fellow Linebacker LJ Fort in the end zone. Watt had 3 sacks on the day to give him 6 on the season. Fort, Defensive End Cameron Heyward (1.5) and LB Jon Bostic (0.5) also got sacks on Ryan.
“I’m confident in my guys every week.”Said Heyward “We got the job done today. We were able to stay together. We had a good week of practice. I know every week is different. But the level of detail really picked up this week.”
So now the Steelers will aim to go over .500 next Sunday as they travel to Cincinnati to face the 4-1 Bengals who beat Miami 27-17. It will be their last game before their bye.
“Hopefully it’s a catalyst to move forward.”Said Tomlin “But we acknowledge it’s going to be quite some time before we get that September stench off us. So, we keep our heads down and keep working.”
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