Steelers’ record: 2-1
One year ago: 2-1
Preseason series record: Steelers lead, 3-0
As the third preseason game, this was the one treated most like a regular season game by the Steelers. The coaching staff put in a game plan, and the starters played the whole first half. In addition to the preparation, the Falcons presented a stiff challenge as an opponent coming off a 13-3 season. Coach Mike Tomlin said that because so much more was put into this game from a preparation standpoint, much more would be expected.
There was some ebb and flow to the game through the first quarter-and-a-half, and the Falcons closed to 17-13 after Matt Bryant’s 30-yard field goal with 2:53 remaining in the first half. But on the ensuing possession, the Steelers drove 81 yards in six plays, with the touchdown coming on a 44-yard pass from
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
The Falcons ran 52 offensive plays in the first half, an incredibly high number on its own, and 44 of those 52 were called pass plays. Matt Ryan attempted 42 passes, and on two other pass plays he pulled the ball down and scrambled.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* The Falcons lost the toss, and the Steelers elected to receive. On the first kickoff return of the preseason – all the other kickoffs had resulted in touchbacks – Antonio Brown brought it back 51 yards, and he also drew a 15-yard horse-collar tackle penalty to put the ball on the Atlanta 35-yard line. Two passes to
* One play after being confused and leaving Roddy White all alone for a 22-yard completion to the 5-yard line,
* Mike Tomlin always talks about injuries creating opportunities for other players, and that’s what happened when Keenan Lewis left the game.
* Late in the game,
* In addition to playing well once again, Roethlisberger continues to say the kinds of things that leaders are supposed to say. When asked to assess the offense’s performance during a first half in which it scored 24 points, Roethlisberger said, “It’s still another performance, in my opinion, where I’m happy that we scored but I still am a little disappointed that we haven’t done as well as I think we should have. We had a couple breakdowns, some different things here and there that have stalled us as an offense. I feel like we’re doing some good things, but we’ve still got some work to do. That’s a good thing. I’d rather do that than be 100 percent right.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
* Daniel Sepulveda’s first punt traveled 53 yards, but it was nullified by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Keenan Lewis for running downfield out of bounds. After the 15-yard penalty, Sepulveda got off a 49-yard punt that was fair caught.
* Red zone efficiency has been an issue for the Steelers in the recent past, and it continued on Saturday night.
* Eric Weems found a seam on a 48-yard punt by Sepulveda, and he returned in 48 yards.
* The game began with the Steelers having more quarterbacks on their roster than they possibly could keep, and all four of them have starting experience in the NFL. But that changed, and rather dramatically, on the Steelers’ third offensive play of the second half.
Ion addition to Leftwich and Chavis, Tomlin said the rest of the injuries “are minimal, in-game kind of injuries.