Pittsburgh Steelers Move Closer Towards A Playoff Spot With 27-20 Victory At Atlanta


Dec 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) makes an interception in front of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas (83) in the second quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. Gay returned the interception for a touchdown. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Georgia Dome was invaded by thousands of Steelers’ fans waving Terrible Towels, and Pittsburgh did not disappoint them.

Running back Le’Veon Bell scored two touchdowns for the Steelers, and the defense came up with a big pick-six by cornerback William Gay, as Pittsburgh was able to run down the clock and defeat the Atlanta Falcons 27-20.

The Steelers control their own destiny towards a playoff spot, as long as they keep winning.  Pittsburgh remains a half-game behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.  Cincinnati crashed Johnny Manziel’s first NFL start with a 30-0 victory.

The win moves Pittsburgh (9-5) closer to a playoff spot, whereas Atlanta (5-9) surprisingly still controls its own destiny in the NFC South.

For the Steelers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 27 of 35 passes for 360 yards, and wide receiver Antonio Brown had 10 receptions for 123 yards.  Le’Veon Bell was held to 47 rushing yards, but did have 72 yards receiving.

By defeating Atlanta, Roethlisberger has now beaten every NFL team at least once, and he set a new franchise passing record of 4,415 yards this season.  Bell set a new Steelers single-season record for scrimmage yards, surpassing the 2,034 yard mark set by Barry Foster in 1992.  Brown became the first Steeler in team history with 1,400 receiving yards in the first 14 games of the season.

For the Falcons, quarterback Matt Ryan completed 26 of 37 passes for 310 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 interception.  Receiver Harry Douglas had 10 receptions for 131 yards, and running back Steven Jackson was limited to 46 rushing yards.

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham nailed two 38 yard field goals to give the Steelers a 6-0 lead going into the second quarter.

In the beginning of the second quarter, cornerback William Gay picked off Matt Ryan and returned it 52 yards for the defensive score, giving the Steelers a 13-0 advantage.

The Falcons got on the board with a 17 yard TD pass to Devin Hester, which was aided by a roughing the passer penalty on linebacker Jason Worilds.  To me, it looked like a clean, hard hit, but the flag was thrown.

Pittsburgh countered following a tremendous catch along the sideline by Antonio Brown, and Bell punched it in from 1 yard out to give the Steelers a 20-7 lead at the half.

The third quarter was dominated by the Falcons, but they only put up two field goals by Matt Bryant to cut the lead to 20-13.

Early in the fourth quarter, Bell scored on a 13 yard run to put the Steelers up 14.  Receiver Roddy White caught a 4 yard TD pass, but that was as close as the Falcons would get, falling 27-20.

On a late 3rd-and-1, Roethlisberger rolled out and hit tight end Heath Miller for the dagger, as Pittsburgh could kneel out the clock.

The Steelers came into the game with the 2nd ranked offense in the NFL, and they amassed 398 yards against the Falcons.

The Pittsburgh defense, especially the secondary, looked shaky at times, as safeties Troy Polamalu and Mike Mitchell both were injured.

Pittsburgh will host the other leading wild card, the Kansas City Chiefs, next Sunday, followed by the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals.

The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars to improve to 9-5 and remain in the hunt.