The Steelers offense long ago evolved away from a run-oriented philosophy, but for them there always has been some correlation between running the football and winning games. Even this season, in the two games the Steelers had lost coming into Sunday’s date with the Atlanta Falcons, they had rushed for a combined 52 yards, and in the two games they didn’t lose they had rushed for a combined 237 yards.
In posting a 41-17 victory over the Falcons, the Steelers re-discovered their running attack, with the offense accounting for 131 yards on the ground and James Conner leading the way with 110 on 21 carries (5.2 average) and two touchdowns to go along with four receptions for another 75 yards. With 185 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in 25 touches, Conner is the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.
Also considered were T.J. Watt, who spearheaded a consistently fierce pass rush while finishing with eight tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown; Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 19-of-29 for 250 yards, with three touchdowns, one interception, and a rating of 112.7; Antonio Brown, who caught six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns; L.J. Fort, who was part of a two-man committee filling in for an injured Vince Williams and adding six tackles, a sack, three hits on Matt Ryan, and the recovery for a touchdown on the fumble forced by Watt; Cam Heyward, who had three tackles and 1.5 sacks; Jordan Berry, who averaged 47.7 yards on three punts with two of those downed at the 11 and 2-yard lines, respectively; and Tyler Matakevich, who was the other half of the committee replacing Williams and contributing four tackles on defense and two more on special teams.