The Pittsburgh Steelers had been stalling the past few weeks with a dull 1-2-1 record, and their opponent in Week 5 was following suit. The Atlanta Falcons entered the game at Heinz Field with a 1-3 record, and completely out of sorts. However, this game was a shootout in the making with both offenses looking to light up the scoreboard to get their team back in the win column.
After Atlanta won the coin toss, and deferred to the second half, the Steelers’ offense got their first first down on their opening possession of the season, and much more. The drive highlighted big plays by running back James Conner, and ended with a Conner one yard plunge into the endzone. However, Chris Boswell’s kicking woes continued as he missed yet another point-after, giving the Steelers a 6-0 lead.
After the Steelers defense forced a Falcons punt, Pittsburgh’s offense marched 96-yards down the field and capped off the drive with a Ben Roethlisberger strike to JuJu Smith-Schuster for the touchdown. Mike Tomlin elected to allow Boswell to try another extra point, which was good, making the score 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
On their next drive, and only their second possession of the game, the Falcons knew they had to come up with an answer. After converting several third-and-long situations, Matt Ryan found Mohammed Sanu for the Falcons’ first score of the game, making the score 13-7.
After the Steelers’ first three-and-out of the game, the Falcons’ went on a time consuming drive deep into Pittsburgh territory. A pair of Pittsburgh penalties aided the drive, but back-to-back sacks by T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward held Atlanta to a Matt Bryant field goal. The 47-yard kick was good, making the score 13-10 with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first half.
Throughout the second quarter, the Steelers had yet to even gain a first down, let alone put points on the board, but with 1:42 left in the half the Pittsburgh defense got the offense the ball back with a chance to extend their lead. With the ball inside the 10-yard line, Roethlisberger tried to find Antonio Brown in the endzone but was intercepted.
After halftime, and an Atlanta punt to start the third quarter, Pittsburgh took the ball and wasted little time adding to their lead. Led by Conner, Roethlisberger threw a bullet to Antonio Brown for the touchdown, and to extend the lead 20-10.
Atlanta’s ensuing drive resulted in another three-and-out, but on the punt Roosevelt Nix knifed through the line of scrimmage to get his hand on the football for the block. The play gave the Steelers the football already in the red-zone.
Get you a guy who can do it all. pic.twitter.com/Ues60WZfz9— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 7, 2018
Two plays later it was James Conner who followed Roosevelt Nix’s blocking and hit pay dirt for the second time of the day, and extending the Steelers’ lead 27-10.
In desperate need of a scoring drive of their own, Atlanta was able to do just that by taking advantage of several Steelers penalties in a lengthy drive which was capped off with a two-yard touchdown run by running back Ito Smith. The score cut into Pittsburgh’s lead by making the score 27-17 with just over 12-minutes left in the fourth quarter.
With plenty of time to answer, the Steelers continued to milk the clock, but more importantly, finish drives with touchdowns. After James Conner moved the offense to midfield, it was a 47-yard deep pass from Roethlisberger to Brown for his second touchdown of the game, and extended the Steelers’ lead 34-17 with just over 9-minutes left in the quarter.
At this stage in the game, Atlanta needed points, and decided to go for it on 4th down on their next drive, but the Ryan pass intended for Sanu fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Steelers on downs. Pittsburgh failed to convert the possession into points, but were able to take valuable time off the clock.
In on last ditch effort to climb back into the game, Matt Ryan was sacked again by T.J. Watt, and fumbled the football into the end-zone. L.J. Fort fell on the ball in the end-zone to make the final score 41-17.
The Steelers’ win moves their record to 2-2-1, their first win at Heinz Field of the season, with the team now preparing for a Week 6 showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio. Stay glued to BTSC for the latest, and greatest, Pittsburgh Steelers news heading into Week 6.