ATLANTA, GA—For the first time in the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won 2 consecutive games in a row. And although it took them until December to do so, they will gladly tell you that it’s better late than never as they were able to accomplish that feat as by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 19-16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“I’m really excited for the group in the locker room. That’s two victories in a row that were much needed,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “Trying to find that rhythm and do what good teams do which is stack winning performances on top of winning performances. That’s the first time we’ve done it this year. If you going to be somebody to be considered and considered seriously, you have to stack wins. So, hopefully it’s a launching path for us as we move forward.”
And the Steelers are at a point where it’s not about style points or glitz and glamour, but it’s about doing whatever it takes to get those wins as K Matthew Wright kicked 4 field goals, to go along with a 17-yard TD pass from QB Kenny Pickett to TE Connor Heyward.
“Not perfect today, but I think we did what was required, particularly our big boys up front. I thought they controlled the scrimmage, minimized negativity because we stayed on schedule,” Said Tomlin. “We settled for field goals some and that’s always concerning, but there’s always going to be things to work on after the games. I prefer to do that with the W as opposed to an L, so we will work.”
For the 3rd straight game, the Steelers rushed for over 100 yards (154) led by RB Najee Harris’s 86 in his return from injury. Benny Snell Jr. would also add 23 as the Steelers are continuing to show that they finally have a running game. Pickett finished passing for 197 yards (16/28) a TD and 0 interceptions. TE Pat Freiermuth led the Steelers with 76 yards receiving- including a 57-yard reception.
“They made the necessary plays to secure a victory, the stops, earning the first downs, the late pinning down inside the red zone. It’s just good to get contribution from all the phases in the waiting moments to secure a victory,” Tomlin commented.
In addition to holding the Falcons to 16 points, the Steelers’ defense sacked Falcons QB Marcus Mariotta once and intercepted him once when S Minkah Fitzpatrick picked him off with seconds left in the 4th quarter. But the Falcons still didn’t make it easy for the Steelers as they overcame a 16-6 deficit to keep things close.
“I thought they did a good job – ‘they’ meaning Atlanta. I thought they controlled the line of scrimmage with their front in the second half, and thus the time of possession, and they kind of got tight. But I thought our guys collectively did not blink,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers will now return home to face AFC North Rival Baltimore at Acrisure Stadium. “We had to possess the ball some there, and obviously we like to possess it all the way out, but we didn’t,” Tomlin asserted. “We had a high-quality special teams play with that punt and then the defense will play to finish it, so some good signs. I don’t know the totality of injury, bumps and bruises associated with plays. I know T.J. [Watt] was pretty beat up, but we will see where the road leads us as we start to lean in on next week.”
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