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Steelers vs Falcons Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations of the second half of the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

  • The Steelers opened in their base package, and were immediately victimized on the screen game. Troy Polamalu appeared to at least nearly tip the ball, but Sean Spence, the nearest defender to the receiver, was chipped by the left tackle. Devin Hester picked up 46 yards on the play on what looked like a punt return.
  • On the second play of the drive, Matt Ryan found Harry Douglas for about 15 yards inside the red zone in front of William Gay.
  • The Falcons were flagged for holding, which helped stall the drive. On third and eight, Lawrence Timmons responded well and stopped the screen pass short of the first down. The Falcons cut the score to 20-10.
  • On their first play from scrimmage of the half, the Steelers got off one of their better runs of the day, running off right tackle inside of Heath Miller with Le’Veon Bell, who kept churning his legs for 10 yards.
  • Two plays later, Antonio Brown was flagged twice on the same play, setting up third and 17, on which Ben Roethlisberger just heaved up the ball down the field under pressure.
  • Despite ultimately falling to his knees, Jarvis Jones gained some penetration to force Ryan to throw the ball into the dirt on second down.
  • On third and seven, however, Ryan found Douglas over Antwon Blake for the conversion out past the 40-yard line.
  • On the following play, Stephen Jackson was able to break some tackle to cross midfield, down to the 45.
  • Two plays later, Ryan was able to escape pressure around the right side to scramble for a first down.
  • After Vince Williams made a tackle on first down to prevent a first down, Cameron Heyward batted down Ryan’s second-down pass. But he converted short to Roddy White for the first down, down to the 11.
  • Following another successful screen to Hester, the defense stopped the run, and then Ryan missed an open Hester for a touchdown. There would have been an offensive penalty on the play anyway, but either way it kept the Steelers ahead by a touchdown.
  • On the first play of the Steelers’ next drive, Mike Adams got swum over by a Falcons defensive lineman, who blew up Bell in the backfield for a loss of six.
  • On the next play, however, Roethlisberger lurched back and found Brown for 15 yards, and Bell, again converted on short yardage.
  • After finding a wide open Miller for 26 yards to end the third quarter, Roethlisberger used play action and a pump fake to open up Markus Wheaton cutting across the field for another chunk play inside the 15.
  • On the very next play, the Steelers broke out the counter as David DeCastro sealed the edge and Bell caught the sideline for a 13-yard score, his seven rushing touchdown of the season and sixth in the last four games.
  • For the second time in the game, Shamarko Thomas dragged down Hester on a kickoff for a nice stop.
  • Heyward nearly sacked Ryan on first down, forcing him the throw the ball at the feet of his receiver.
  • On third and three, however, Ryan scrambled for the conversion for the second time in the game.
  • Timmons weaved through traffic to cut down Jackson for no gain on a nice run stop by the veteran.
  • But then once again, the Steelers were caught and burned on the screen. Hester cleaned up Gay as Timmons was impeded just enough for Douglas to escape outside for about 40 yards.
  • On third down from the four, White got inside of Blake for the touchdown, making it 27-20 with 10 minutes to play.
  • The Steelers countered with a screen of their own to Brown for 11 yards to start the following drive.
  • After the counter power failed on second and six, Roethlisberger converted to Wheaton to move the chains.
  • The drive ended three plays later when Roethlisberger was just barely long on a vertical pass to Lance Moore, who did just about everything he could to secure the catch.
  • Williams once again did an excellent job of keeping a short pass in front of the chains, forcing the Falcons to go three and out and punt the ball away. That allowed the offense to run out the clock.
  • Roethlisberger double pumped a sidearm pass to Brown to set up third and three on the drive, which was incomplete, but the Falcons were penalized for illegal contact.
  • On third and one, at the two minute warning, the Steelers went daring and tossed down the field to Miller for the first down, ending the game.
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