The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 9-5 and firmly in the drivers seat for the AFC North Divisional Championship after beating the Atlanta Falcons 27-20.
The Steelers defense bent but did not break, making the big plays when they needed them.
Let’s take a look at the Good, the Bad & the Ugly of this Steelers road victory!
The Steelers offense can get it done in a variety of ways and they proved that in this game.The Falcons defense loaded up against run most of the day but RB Le’Veon Bell did manage two rushing touchdowns.He finished with 20 carries for 47 yards.
What Bell lacked in running the ball, he made up for in the receiving game. He had 5 catches 72 yards.
QB Ben Roethlisberger did not have any passing touchdowns but was accurate and efficient completing 27 of 35 for 360 yards and no turnovers. Roethlisberger finished with a QB rating of 109.2.
WR Antonio Brown continued his amazing season catching all 10 balls targeted to him for 123 yards and setting a franchise record for catches in a season with 115. Brown’s catch that set up Bell’s one yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty showing great body awareness and control. Brown proves he is an elite talent week in and week out.
WR Markus Wheaton continues to grow and develop into a reliable wide receiver . He had 5 catches for 66 yards and a couple of key plays to keep drives alive.
Tight End Heath Miller was his old reliable self catching 4 balls for 66 yards. Miller had a key catch late in the game that helped seal the victory and run out the clock
The Steelers defense may have gave up some yards but they made big plays at key times and no play was bigger than William Gay‘s interception he returned for a touchdown to give the Steelers an early lead. Gay is having a good season and has returned all three of his interceptions for touchdowns this season.
The Steelers inside linebackers were once again a strength with Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams and Sean Spence all having very good games. The rotation combination of Williams and Spence has been great as both players seem to be coming into their own.
DE Cam Heyward and NT Steve Mclendon both were big factors in the game although the stats may not tell the story.
S Shamarko Thomas did well on special teams and was a big reason the Steelers were able to keep Devin Hester in check on the return game.
The bottom line is the Steelers came up with big plays when they needed them and did not turn over the football and that’s a winning formula.
The Steelers offense is still having some red zone problems, settling for two field goals early in the game.
The Steelers defense continues to give up big pass plays allowing two more passes of over 40 yards.
The Steelers defense once again did not register a sack.
All of the above needs to improve as the Steelers make their move for the playoff picture.
The Steelers defense needs to perform better against the run moving forward. They are giving up 4.4 yards a run and 103.6 yards a game.
Teams will run the ball more, attempting to keep the Steelers offense off the field and control the game clock. This and the Steelers secondary giving up big plays in the passing game could spell disaster if improvements are not made.