The Pittsburgh Steelers notched their ninth win of the season Sunday with a 27-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 27-of-35 passing for 360 yards in the win and all-everything wide receiver Antonio Brown caught all 10 of the passes that Roethlisberger threw his way in the game on his way to setting a new single-season franchise record in receptions.
Roethlisberger also broke his own single-season passing yardage record Sunday and running back Le’Veon Bell set a new franchise single-season record in total yards from scrimmage with his 129 yards against the Falcons.
After jumping out to a 6-0 lead on two 38-yard field goals by kicker Shaun Suisham, veteran cornerback William Gay intercepted a pass from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan that was intended for wide receiver Harry Douglas and he returned 52 yards for a touchdown. It was Gay’s third pick-6 of the season and it put the Steelers up 13-0.
The Falcons finally got on the scoreboard with 4:19 left in the first half as Ryan hit wide receiver Devin Hester with a 17-yard scoring pass over the top of Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake. The score came just three plays after Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds was flagged for roughing the passer when he sacked Ryan on second down from the Steelers 35-yard-line. The call against Worilds was a questionable one, but officials deemed that the Steelers linebacker had hit Ryan in the head and neck area.
The Steelers answered back, however, as they drove 80 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown. The drive included a big 28-yard catch by Brown on the left sideline that was originally ruled out of bounds. After a review overturned the call made on the field, Bell scored from one yard out to put the Steelers ahead 20-7 at halftime.
The Falcons put together two long drives to start the second half but both of them ended in field goals by kicker Matt Bryant. The Steelers answered the second score with yet another 80-yard drive that culminated with Bell running it in from 13 yards out with 14:19 left in the fourth quarter.
Down 14 points, the Falcons marched right back down the field with another long drive that ended with Ryan hitting wide receiver Roddy White with a pass from four yards out on third down. Again it was Blake who was beaten on the play and Ryan threw the ball were only White could catch it.
After the two teams traded possessions, the Steelers got the ball back with 4:34 left in the game and they proceeded to run out the clock. There were two key plays on that drive that enabled that to happen, however. First Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant was flagged for illegal contact on Brown during a failed third down play with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter. The penalty gave the Steelers a new set of downs in the process.
Finally, with two minutes left in the game, Roethlisberger hit tight end Heath Miller for 25 yards on a third and one play from the Falcons 39-yard-line. It was a great play call and the subsequent first down allowed the Steelers to run out the rest of the clock with kneel-downs.
With the win Sunday, the Steelers may have a shot at clinching a playoff spot next week should the beat the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. That will only be possible, however, if the Denver Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers later on this Sunday. The Broncos are currently leading the Chargers 9-3 just before halftime.