Tomlin: 4 things you must know at Falcons

  1. Stepping up again:* *Linebacker Arthur Moats started against the Bengals in place of the injured James Harrison and responded with four tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Cornerback Antwon Blake stepped in for a banged-up Ike Taylor, and added two tackles and two key pass defenses. Coach Mike Tomlin wasn't surprised, as both players have been making contributions like that when called up since early in the season.

"They have done a nice job, but I don't think Sunday was the start of their contributions," said Tomlin. "You can go as far back as Week 3 when we lost Ike for an extended period of time and Jarvis Jones for an extended period time. Immediately guys like those two and Brice McCain were given an opportunity. That is the nature of football, in particular the nature of professional football. One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity. These guys have done a nice job of responding and taking advantage of the opportunity and delivering quality play for us and being positive contributors to our efforts and reasons why we are successful. I can definitely say that was the case Sunday in Cincinnati with those two in particular." 2.

Rookie making an impact:* *With Brett Keisel on the sideline against the Bengals, it was up to rookie Stephon Tuitt to hold down the fort as the starting right defensive end and he responded with a solid performance.  

"I thought he was a positive contributor to our efforts," said Tomlin. "We had a recent misfortune in terms of Brett Keisel's injury and that provided an opportunity for an expanded role and increased contribution for guys such as Tuitt. He took advantage of it and was a positive contributor to our effort. We expect that and he expects that."

  1. Explaining the move: The Steelers placed cornerback Cortez Allen on injured reserve prior to the Bengals game, in turn activating linebacker Jarvis Jones. While Allen was listed as probable during the week with a thumb injury, he wasn't able to be effective enough in practice to contribute on game day with the injury.

"He was really limited in what he was able to do effectively because of the injury," said Tomlin. "We had an opportunity to get Jarvis up and there was a need there in particular because of James Harrison's injury. Those are some of the decisions you have to make. Cortez has worked extremely hard to get back to us, particularly with that club on his hand. He largely was ineffective in terms of doing some of the things he needed to do to play above the line, and given the situation at inside linebacker it was an easy decision to make."

Not a storyline: The Steelers have lost three games this season to teams with sub .500 records, including the New York Jets (2-11), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) and New Orleans Saints (5-8). Tomlin said that won't play any type of factor this Sunday when they take on the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons, who have a 5-8 record.

"I really think the significant element of the storyline is we are faced with another road game against a division leader and it's a significant game for both teams," said Tomlin. "Both teams will prepare with that in mind and play with an edge with that in mind. We have a great deal of respect for these guys."

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