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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/47293/steel_curtain_fave.png 2022-12-04T19:30:00-05:00
Updated: 1 hour 18 min ago

Who gets the BTSC game ball in the Steelers win over the Falcons?

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 6:30pm
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There were a number of players who had a good game, but which one gets the coveted game ball?

The Pittsburgh Steelers got their fifth win of the 2022 season with back-to-back road victories, this time in Atlanta against the Falcons. The Steelers offense once again got things going with the ground game while the defense finished the game off with a takeaway.

But who gets the game ball?

Each win for the Steelers this season, I will set forth nominations to receive the BTSC game ball. It does not necessarily have to be the best player on the field, but who really stepped up their game this particular week. After the case has been made, you all decide which player takes home the honor.

There have now been three game balls given out this season with the most recent being in Week 12. The winner for that game was Kenny Pickett. Commanding the Steelers offense, Kenny Pickett continued to make strides in his rookie season. Not only did he get his first road victory of his NFL career, it was his first win in prime time. In the game, Pickett completed 20 passes on 28 attempts for 174 passing yards as well as throwing a two-point conversion. Most importantly, he had no interceptions as this is the third-straight game the Steelers offense has not turned the ball over. Pickett also added 32 yards on the ground on six carries.

I will remind everyone of the rules that it is individual players who will be in the running. Although it could be applicable, it will not be either position groups or coaches who are eligible for this designation (but this week I am going to break my own rules) as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in no particular order:

Najee Harris

After only practicing once this past week and in a limited capacity, Najee Harris returned after missing the second half of last weeks game and rushed for 86 yards on 17 carries. With a 5.1 yards per attempt average, Harris also had a long of a 14-yard run and added one reception on one target for 6 yards.

The Offensive Line

I know, I broke my own rule. It’s very rare that I will include an entire position group, but these guys need some notoriety and it can’t just be one player over the others. But for this week, not only did the Steelers rush for 154 yards in the game, they also did not surrender any sacks.

Minkah Fitzpatrick

It wasn’t enough that Minkah Fitzpatrick led the defense with seven tackles, he had the game-sealing interception with under a minute to go on the Falcons very first play of their last drive. Even more, Fitzpatrick unselfishly kept from running into the end zone to allow the offense to simply take a knee rather than allow Atlanta to try to do something by possessing the ball for the last 35 seconds.

Connor Heyward

Although he was only targeted one time in the game, rookie tight end Connor Heyward had his first NFL touchdown with a 17-yard reception from Kenny Pickett. Making it a little extra special, big brother Cam stated after the game that he and Connor went to visit their father‘s grave in the Atlanta area earlier that morning before reporting to the stadium.

Matthew Wright

Going four-for-four in field goal attempts in the game, Matthew Wright had three kicks over 40 yards with two coming from 46 and one from 48. Adding on the extra point on the Steelers touchdown, another significant contribution from Wright was what he did on kickoffs. Avoiding the dangerous Cordarrelle Patterson, Wright used both direction and depth in order to keep Patterson from getting his hands on the ball for a return.

So what do you think? Who deserves the game ball for the Steelers this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Lamar Jackson knee injury adds intrigue to the Steelers vs. Ravens in Week 14

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 5:42pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers and Ravens will go head-to-head in Week 14, but will Lamar Jackson be in the lineup?

No that there is any need for more intrigue in a Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens game, but there certainly is some with the knee injury Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson sustained in the Week 13 game vs. the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.

After the game, head coach John Harbaugh told media there is a lot of unknown surrounding the injury but, “Certainly by Wednesday, it will be more definitive, but it’s going to be a number of days to weeks.”

According to Sports Injury Central, they see the injury keeping Jackson out at least two weeks, and have him not being back to 100% for the remainder of the regular season.

“Based on video of the injury, Jackson is unlikely to play for at least the next two weeks, according to the Pro Football Docs. That knocks him out for next week against the Steelers and Week 15 against the Browns.”

This absolutely puts the former NFL MVP’s availability in doubt as they prepare for a big game vs. a now surging Steelers team coming off back-to-back wins. Sitting on a 5-7 record, the Steelers could make a huge statement if they are able to beat the Ravens at home in Week 14, but they’ll likely be facing Tyler Huntley, not Jackson.

Nothing is definitive at this point, but the Steelers have experience with Huntley at quarterback. It was Huntley at quarterback in Week 18 last season in Baltimore when T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s sack record, and also where Ben Roethlisberger led the team to victory, and into the playoffs.

In that game, Huntley was 16 off 31 for 141 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions. Huntley has experience, and his skill set certainly should be something the Steelers will be concerned with heading into the game Sunday, if Jackson can’t play.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Ravens in Week 14 of regular season action.

Mike Tomlin labels T.J. Watt as “pretty beat up” after Steelers win over the Falcons

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 3:35pm
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defender was visibly in discomfort during the game Sunday in Week 13.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13 on the road, their first time winning back-to-back games in 2022. On their way to the 19-16 win, the Steelers were dealing with several bumps and bruises, as Mike Tomlin calls them. No injury loomed larger than the injury, or injuries, linebacker T.J. Watt is dealing with.

After the game, Tomlin said Watt is “pretty beat up” and the team will have to see how he handles these injuries in the next few weeks. Not only did Watt deal with the pectoral injury which landed him on Injured Reserve (IR), but also had his knee scoped during his time on IR. Since returning, Watt has been dealing with an injury to his ribs, and was visibly uncomfortable throughout the game.

You don’t have to tell Steelers fans what Watt means to the Steelers as a team, and the hope is he will be able to play vs. the Baltimore Ravens at home in Week 14.

Other players who left at some point, were cornerback Levi Wallace who had a shoulder injury after colliding with Minkah Fitzpatrick on a pass break up. Wallace was able to return, and finish, the game.

Safety Terrell Edmunds was injured while tackling Cordarrelle Patterson, and the injury was unknown while it looked like he might have had the wind knocked out of him on the play. Like Wallace, Edmunds was able to return to the field and finish the contest.

The other player who left the game at some point was offensive tackle Chuks Okorafor. Okorafor came off the field and was favoring his shoulder, but, like all the other players, was able to return to the game. What is crazy is how when Okorafor left the field, he and Mason Cole were the only offensive linemen to miss snaps this season.

The Steelers now turn their attention to an AFC North rivalry which needs no introduction when the Ravens visit Acrisure Stadium Sunday. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the rest of the 2022 regular season.

Knee Jerk Reaction to the Steelers 19-16 win over the Falcons

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 3:10pm
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Steelers were able to stack wins for the first time in the 2022 season.

Knee-jerk reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee-jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game (my son Kyle might have a few things to say as well). It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later (or not). So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during Week 13 of the NFL Regular Season.

1st Quarter

  • Steelers will receive the opening kickoff. Here we go!
  • Steelers start with three straight runs and gain 13 or 14 yards. Like seeing the offensive line starting out moving guys.
  • Muth converts the 2nd first down of the game.
  • Nice catch Steven Sims......maybe. It’s being challenged. Okay so not a nice catch.
  • Muth again on 3rd down.
  • Kenny misread on that RPO, should have given it to Najee.
  • That third and 15 throw was 5 yards short Muth.
  • Matthew Wright from 46 yards, doinks the right upright but skims it through. Steelers 3, Falcons 0.
  • Sutton with a nice break up.
  • The defense does its thing and the Falcons will punt.
  • Sims muffs the fair catch, but luckily was able to get it back.
  • A couple first downs gets the Steelers out towards midfield.
  • End of the first quarter. Steelers 3, Falcons 0.

2nd Quarter.

  • Pickett was a little high or it’s a TD Muth.
  • Diontae drops the third down pass, Steelers to try a field goal. It’s good. Steelers 6 Falcons 0.
  • Don't like seeing the defense give up a big run there.
  • The defense is letting them drive it right down the field.
  • Wallace breaks up a pass, but looks to be favoring his arm.
  • Cameron Heyward!!! Get down Mr. President.
  • The Falcons hit a field goal. Steelers 6, Falcons 3.
  • Muth with a monster gain on third down. The Steelers are now in the red zone.
  • Follow that up with Dotson starting early.
  • Pickett with a nice touch pass to Connor Hayward for the touchdown. Steelers 13, Falcons 3.
  • Falcons first play is a pretty big play into Steelers territory.
  • The Steelers hold on the next three plays to force a field goal try. It's good. Steelers 13, Falcons 6.
  • The offense is already back out on the field and driving. I am liking what I'm seeing offensively from the Steelers so far. The only thing that would make it better is more touchdowns.
  • Steelers settling for a field goal try again. It's good. Steelers 16, Falcons 6.
  • The Steelers have scored on every one of their drives so far. That part I like but the touchdown to field goal ratio is not good.
  • Steelers are going to play soft zone and looks like they'll probably end up giving up yardage to field goal range.
  • Back-to-back plays of over 10 yards for the Falcons.
  • Three incompletions follow and the Steelers will actually get the ball back.
  • The Steelers just hand it to Najee and then let the clock run out. Halftime score Steelers 16, Falcons 6.

3rd Quarter

  • Edmunds makes a nice play, but is now down on the turf. Looks like he might have landed on the running backs foot.
  • After giving up one first down the defense holds and the offense will get the ball back.
  • The Steelers do get a first down right away. Nice to not see a quick three and out to start the third quarter on offense.
  • Diontae did a good job making that catch and getting up the field quickly.
  • Betty Snell with a nice catch for a first down, add on a horse collar tackle and the Steelers are deep into Falcons territory.
  • A penalty then hurts. The drive stalls and the Steelers try a field goal. Steelers 19, Falcons 6.
  • It was good to see the Steelers drive the ball and score points in the third quarter.
  • The defense is giving up runs now.
  • The defense gives up the touchdown. When the offense is only scoring field goals the defense needs to hold to field goals. Steelers 19, Falcons 13.
  • Thank goodness the third quarter is over is the offense already faces a third and eight. Steelers 19, Falcons 13.

4th Quarter

  • Diontae catches the 3rd down pass and then fumbles it. Talk about a momentum changer.
  • Wow. Somehow that fumble was overturned and Big Press is on to punt.
  • Falcons moving it to easily.
  • The defense has given up about 100 yards rushing in the 2nd half.
  • Falcons going on 4th and 1. I figure they'll convert this. They do pretty easily.
  • Falcons pounding it down the Steelers throat on the ground.
  • Falcons score but there's a flag. Please be a hold, please be a hold, please be a hold. And it was a hold, thank goodness.
  • Another penalty on the Falcons and they are second and goal on the 22.
  • 3rd and goal at the 10 is incomplete. The Falcons will attempt to field goal. Steelers 19, Falcons 16.
  • With 5 and 1/2 minutes to play it's time for the offense to get this ball and milk this clock and then score a touchdown.
  • The Steelers have made a couple of first downs and are just into Falcons territory. We've hit the two-minute warning. Time to finish this off on offense.
  • Diontae catches a first down out of the 2 minute warning.
  • The only thing I don't like about that bootleg they just did with Pickett is that he really had no option of anyone to throw the ball to.
  • The Steelers are actually going to punt the ball here. That is a little confusing to me as they were on the very far edge of field goal range.
  • Steelers down the punt at the 2 yard line.
  • Minkah picks it off and runs out of bounds so the Steelers can kneel on it.
  • Victory formation for the Steelers.
  • 3-2-1 WIN! The Steelers maged their short stack with the 19-16 win.

There you have it, my knee jerks. so I will sit on this for a day or two, analyze it and then talk about it on The Scho Bro Show Tuesday night. CAN’T WAIT!!!

FINAL: Steelers find a way to win, beating the Falcons 19-16

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 2:56pm
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers were able to beat the Falcons, winning back-to-back games for the first time in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 13 game vs. the Atlanta Falcons hoping to do something they hadn’t done all season — win back-to-back games. Coming off a Monday night win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers entered the game as a banged up unit, dealing with several bumps and bruises heading to Atlanta.

Banged up or not, the Falcons won the opening coin toss and elected to defer their possession to the second half. It meant Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense would take the field to start the game, and the offense did what they do most, drive the field. The time-consuming drive featured plenty of third down conversions and tough running by Najee Harris, but the drive ended with a 46-yard Matthew Wright field goal which banked off the right upright, his second bank in the last two games, to make the score 3-0 with 7:32 left in the opening quarter.

Trying to answer the Steelers’ opening drive points, the Falcons moved the ball, but stalled after penalties saw them facing a 3rd and 20. The result was a punt, giving the ball back to Pittsburgh with 4:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Pittsburgh’s second drive started out very much like their first, and it had the offense in Atlanta territory at the end of the quarter. However, the Steelers second drive was very much like their first with the offense moving into Atlanta territory, and having to settle for a Wright field goal. Again from 46-yards, the kick made the score 6-0 with 13:34 remaining in the opening half.

The Mariota led offense was dynamic in their second possession, pushing the ball down the field and combining those passes with big runs. The Falcons’ offense moved quickly into Pittsburgh territory, but when the field shortened the Steelers’ defense tightened up. A Larry Ogunjobi tackle for loss set up a 3rd and 13, and Cam Heyward got to Mariota to force a 50-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, making the score 6-3 with 9:20 remaining in the second quarter.

The Steelers’ offense continued to move the ball down the field, and this drive was jump-started by a 3rd down completion to Pat Freiermuth where he turned the ball up field and made defenders miss on his way to a 57 yard gain. Just a few plays later Pickett hit fellow rookie Connor Heyward in the end-zone for the first touchdown of the game.

.@kennypickett10 hits @ConnorHeyward1 for six‼️

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNUAdNa pic.twitter.com/6LLzL1jSHa

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 4, 2022

The Wright extra point was good, making the score 13-3 with 7:06 left in the quarter.

Atlanta’s offense did their best Steelers impression, as it pertains to moving the ball. However, like the Steelers in their first two possessions, the drive resulted in nothing more than a field goal. The Koo 51-yard field goal was good, making the score 13-6.

With 5:05 remaining in the opening half, the Pickett led offense continued to move the ball with ease. A 20-yard completion to Diontae Johnson to star the drive got the ball into Atlanta territory. A run by Pickett and Harris got the offense in field goal range, and that’s all they got with a 46-yard Wright field goal with 1:29 left in the half.

Atlanta’s drive didn’t equate in points, and the 16-6 score would carry into halftime.

Starting the second half with the football, the Falcons drive only lasted a handful of plays before punting the ball to the Steelers for their opening possession of the second half.

The Steelers’ haven’t played well offensively in the third quarters in recent weeks, but that fortune changed vs. the Falcons, albeit slightly. An impressive drive which saw the Steelers rush for over 100 yards as a team, ended in a familiar fashion, a Matthew Wright field goal. The kick was good, making the score 19-6 with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

Desperately needing points, the Falcons did it the way they’ve done it the entire season, running the football. Whether it was Marcus Mariota or a slew of running backs, the Falcons ran their way into the red-zone for the first time of the game. It took only two plays once reaching the red-zone for Atlanta to score their first touchdown. The extra point was good, making the score 19-13 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter.

Facing a 3rd and 7 to start the 4th quarter, a pass intended for Diontae Johnson looked as if it was caught and fumbled; however, the review had the officials overturn the call on the field. It resulted in the Steelers’ first punt of the game by Pressley Harvin III.

The momentum had clearly swung in Atlanta’s favor, and they continued to run the ball down the Steelers’ throats. The drive equated to a first and goal situation, and despite a holding call which backed them almost out of the red-zone, they had a 3rd down chance from the 10-yard line. The pass intended for Drake London fell incomplete, and resulted in another Koo field goal to make the score 19-16.

Despite the change of momentum, the Steelers controlled their own destiny with the offense getting the football back. A good mix of run and pass had the Steelers across midfield at the two-minute warning. Facing a 3rd and 5 with the Falcons out of timeouts and 1:40 left in regulation, Kenny Pickett kept the ball on an end around and stayed in bounds to kill more clock.

The Steelers elected to punt the football, bypassing a lengthy Matthew Wright field goal, and Harvin pinned the Falcons at the 2-yard line. Mariota’s pass on first down was intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick, who wisely went out of bounds to kill the clock. The Steelers got in victory formation and went on to win 19-16.

It was the first time the Steelers won back-to-back games in 2022, moving their record to 5-7, and host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 at Acrisure Stadium. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the regular season.

Steelers vs. Falcons, Week 13: 3rd quarter in-game update

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 2:16pm
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s late game.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

Starting the second half with the football, the Falcons drive only lasted a handful of plays before punting the ball to the Steelers for their opening possession of the second half.

The Steelers’ haven’t played well offensively in the third quarters in recent weeks, but that fortune changed vs. the Falcons, albeit slightly. An impressive drive which saw the Steelers rush for over 100 yards as a team, ended in a familiar fashion, a Matthew Wright field goal. The kick was good, making the score 19-6 with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

Desperately needing points, the Falcons did it the way they’ve done it the entire season, running the football. Whether it was Marcus Mariota or a slew of running backs, the Falcons ran their way into the red-zone for the first time of the game. It took only two plays once reaching the red-zone for Atlanta to score their first touchdown. The extra point was good, making the score 19-13 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter.

Steelers vs. Falcons: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 1:35pm
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2022 season continues with the Steelers and Falcons locking horns in Week 13. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the twelfth time in the 2022 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Atlanta Falcons.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Steelers vs. Falcons, Week 13: 2nd quarter in-game update

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 1:25pm
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s late game.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

Pittsburgh’s second drive started out very much like their first, and it had the offense in Atlanta territory at the end of the quarter. However, the Steelers second drive was very much like their first with the offense moving into Atlanta territory, and having to settle for a Wright field goal. Again from 46-yards, the kick made the score 6-0 with 13:34 remaining in the opening half.

The Mariota led offense was dynamic in their second possession, pushing the ball down the field and combining those passes with big runs. The Falcons’ offense moved quickly into Pittsburgh territory, but when the field shortened the Steelers’ defense tightened up. A Larry Ogunjobi tackle for loss set up a 3rd and 13, and Cam Heyward got to Mariota to force a 50-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, making the score 6-3 with 9:20 remaining in the second quarter.

The Steelers’ offense continued to move the ball down the field, and this drive was jump-started by a 3rd down completion to Pat Freiermuth where he turned the ball up field and made defenders miss on his way to a 57 yard gain. Just a few plays later Pickett hit fellow rookie Connor Heyward in the end-zone for the first touchdown of the game.

.@kennypickett10 hits @ConnorHeyward1 for six‼️

Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/E0NYNUAdNa pic.twitter.com/6LLzL1jSHa

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 4, 2022

The Wright extra point was good, making the score 13-3 with 7:06 left in the quarter.

Atlanta’s offense did their best Steelers impression, as it pertains to moving the ball. However, like the Steelers in their first two possessions, the drive resulted in nothing more than a field goal. The Koo 51-yard field goal was good, making the score 13-6.

With 5:05 remaining in the opening half, the Pickett led offense continued to move the ball with ease. A 20-yard completion to Diontae Johnson to star the drive got the ball into Atlanta territory. A run by Pickett and Harris got the offense in field goal range, and that’s all they got with a 46-yard Wright field goal with 1:29 left in the half.

Atlanta’s drive didn’t equate in points, and the 16-6 score would carry into halftime.

Steelers vs. Falcons, Week 13: 1st quarter in-game update

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 12:34pm
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the gridiron! See what is happening during the team’s late game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 13 game vs. the Atlanta Falcons hoping to do something they hadn’t done all season — win back-to-back games. Coming off a Monday night win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers entered the game as a banged up unit, dealing with several bumps and bruises heading to Atlanta.

Banged up or not, the Falcons won the opening coin toss and elected to defer their possession to the second half. It meant Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense would take the field to start the game, and the offense did what they do most, drive the field. The time-consuming drive featured plenty of third down conversions and tough running by Najee Harris, but the drive ended with a 46-yard Matthew Wright field goal which banked off the right upright, his second bank in the last two games, to make the score 3-0 with 7:32 left in the opening quarter.

Trying to answer the Steelers’ opening drive points, the Falcons moved the ball, but stalled after penalties saw them facing a 3rd and 20. The result was a punt, giving the ball back to Pittsburgh with 4:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Pittsburgh’s second drive started out very much like their first, and it had the offense in Atlanta territory at the end of the quarter.

Steelers vs. Falcons: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 11:45am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2022 season continues with the Steelers and Falcons locking horns in Week 13. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the twelfth time in the 2022 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Atlanta Falcons.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

If you have time, and want to check out any of our podcasts, listen in the player below:

Who is the Steelers’ X-Factor in Week 13 vs. the Falcons?

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 11:00am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Who is the X-Factor for the Steelers in their Week 13 game vs. the Falcons?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. It is the Steelers’ latest road game, and, hopefully their fifth victory.

When looking at the matchup between AFC vs. NFC foes, there are players who can be viewed as ‘X-Factors’.

What is an ‘X-Factor’?

I would describe an ‘X-Factor’ as a player who can truly alter the outcome of the game, single-handedly. Not just a plug and play type player, but a player who always has to be accounted for, no matter what.

As a clear-cut example of what an ‘X-Factor’ player would look like, think Troy Polamalu. Polamalu’s skill set made him a force to be reckoned with on every play. So, who are the ‘X-Factors’ for the Steelers Week 13 game vs. the Falcons?

Let’s take a look...

Jeff Hartman

X-Factor: Kenny Pickett

Why: I’ve said before, Pickett could be the offensive X-Factor every week for the rest of the season, if I wanted to go that route. However, in this game, I believe Pickett will be the decisive factor in this game.

The Steelers’ offense has been leaning on the running game since the bye week, and I hope this continues, but injuries to Najee Harris (abdominal), Jaylen Warren (hamstring) and Benny Snell (knee) gives me pause. In other words, this could be a game where Pickett needs to do a little more than just “don’t kill us”, as Mike Tomlin would say.

This could be a game where we learn a lot about Pickett. Could the running game continue to carry the offense? It absolutely could, but at the same time, Pickett’s play will likely determine the offense’s overall success.

Dave Schofield

X-Factor: Cam Heyward

Why: When it comes to the biggest strength of each of these teams in regards to the rankings in the NFL, it’s the Falcons rushing offense and the Steelers rushing defense which stand out. Therefore, it’s important the Steelers win this battle of strength on strength. Last week, Cam Heyward had a down week as he had another epic battle with Colts offensive lineman Quenton Nelson. With Nelson getting the better of Heyward this time, although the Steelers ultimately got the win, I look for Cam to have a bounce-back week against the Falcons. If the Steelers captain can help lead the charge in slowing down the Falcons’ run game, it would go a long way towards a victory.

Who would be your X-Factor for the Week 13 game Sunday? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

T.J. Watt, Jaylen Warren both active for the Steelers in Week 13 vs. Falcons

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 10:32am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Both players were questionable for Sunday’s game but ultimately will be available.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their inactives for their Week 13 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Although there was a player previously ruled out due to injury, Ahkello Witherspoon was placed on IR on Saturday.

As for other injured players, two more were questionable on Friday in Jaylen Warren and T.J. Watt, but Malik Reed was added to the injury report Saturday with a questionable status with a back injury. Despite these designations, they are all active and the list is therefore made up of five healthy scratches. With new roster rules which began in 2020, teams will only need to have five players inactive each game unless they elevate any players from the practice squad. This week, the Steelers did not call up anyone. For this reason, the inactive list is only five players and comes courtesy of Steelers.com.

Steelers Inactives

No. 2 QB Mason Rudolph
No. 16 CB Josh Jackson
No. 53 G Kendrick Green
No. 92 DT Isaiahh Loudermilk
No. 93 LB Mark Robinson

The biggest takeaway from the list is the absence of players with a questionable status. When the Steelers did not elevate any players from the practice squad on Saturday, the likelihood of players such as T.J. Watt and Jaylen Warren being active increased greatly. Exactly how much either player will see the field remains to be seen, but they are in uniform.

When it comes to the healthy scratches, quarterback Mason Rudolph and guard/center Kendrick Green are both inactive for the twelfth-straight game to start the 2022 season. Another player on the list, Mark Robinson, was active in Week 6 due to so many injuries to players who missed the game where he received a helmet and played five special teams snaps. With Robert Spillane out in Week 12, Robinson once again got a helmet but did not see the field. With all the linebackers healthy this week, Robinson is back on the inactive list for the tenth time this season.

Another player who has spent the last three weeks on the inactive list is cornerback Josh Jackson. Originally on the Steelers practice squad, Jackson was elevated in Week 4 and Week 5 before being signed to the active roster and starting the game in Week 6 against the Buccaneers. Jackson missed the Steelers Week 8 game due to injury but returned following the bye week. Despite being active, Jackson did not see the field in Week 10 and was inactive in Week 11 and Week 12.

The final player on the inactive list is defensive tackle Isaiahh Loudermilk. Inactive the first five weeks of the season, Loudermilk received a helmet all six weeks DeMarvin Leal spent on the Reserve/Inured List (IR). With Leal coming off IR on Saturday, along with the fact Loudermilk missed practice on Thursday and Friday for personal reasons, he is back on the inactive list.

As for the Falcons’ inactives, they can be seen below courtesy of Steelers.com.

Falcons Inactives

No. 20 S Jovante Moffatt
No. 21 CB Rashad Fenton
No. 47 OLB Arnold Ebiketie
No. 55 ILB Nate Landman
No. 71 OL Chuma Edoga
No. 88 WR Frank Darby
No. 94 DL Jalen Dalton

Bold and Bizarre predictions for Steelers vs. Falcons

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 9:37am
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Much to the chagrin of most, BTSC’s Nostradumbass predicts the Steelers’ matchup vs. the Atlanta Falcons

The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Atlanta to take on the equally disappointing Falcons. The home team will surely be a good test for the hopefully resurgent visitors, so this should be a good one. With inquiries, story lines, and more, I’ve compiled a list of predictions (some basic, and some utterly idiotic) to look for in this challenging home contest.

For those new to the article I sometimes come close, but ultimately whiff on most of my predictions. Let’s see if I can get lucky this week.

  • The Falcons attempt to beat the Men of Steel for the first time in 16 years and attempt to bring back TE Alge Crumpler who had three touchdowns that fateful day in 2006. The 44-year-old Crumpler, declines citing. He is only in shape to get two touchdowns against the paltry Pittsburgh secondary.
  • Art Rooney II corners Falcons owner Arthur Blank and joshes him because Chick-fil-A, albeit located in Mercedes, Benz Stadium, becomes a Fries Up on Sundays because the Georgia-based chain always takes this day off every week. The two owners make a sandwich bet for the loser to provide the winner either a lifetime supply of Pittsburghers from Primantis or Chik-Fil-A waffle fries.
  • Speaking of sandwiches, Ben Roethlisberger calls a press conference to remind Kenny Pickett that he had a sandwich named after him.
  • Pickett goes 22 for 34 and 220 yards. The Steelers QB1 throws three touchdowns and stretches his interception-free streak to four games.
  • Pat Freiermuth catches 9 balls and a touchdown.
  • George Pickens catches a touchdown and to celebrate the score and 49th birthday of Michael Jackson, Pickens grabs his crotch, and does a moonwalk in the touchdown zone. Upon learning that it is merely the birthday of English footballer and manager Mike Jackson, No. 14 builds a time machine and comes back to this very moment to throw fish and chips into the crowd.
  • Jaylen Warren scores his first NFL touchdown and uneducated fans rush to add him in fantasy leagues and drop Bennie Snell.
  • The Steelers get called for only one “illegal man down field” penalty.
  • Najee Harris gains 90 yards on the ground and scores a touchdown.
  • The Steelers get three sacks, one by T.J. Watt, one by Larry Ogunjobi and another by Arthur Maulet.
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee and Cam Sutton intercept Marcus Mariota, but the Steelers defense still surrenders three touchdown passes.
  • Sutton with the pick-six.
  • The Steelers rushing defense falters as the Falcons run for over 150 yards on the ground.
  • The Steelers get five touchdowns on the day, and two field goals from Matthew Wright, but Wright misses a field goal and an extra point. The Steelers do win 39-36.

Will any of this actually happen? I’ll bet at least one or two. Heck, maybe every one of them. Be sure to post your predictions — basic or bizarre — below.

Even if it has ways to go, the Steelers’ offense is showing growth

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Progress from the youngsters at last.

For a significant portion of the last two seasons, one person affiliated with the Steelers has been singled out more than others, the black sheep in a sea of black and gold: Matt Canada.

Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator, who assumed the position before the 2021 season, has rightfully drawn perpetual criticism. The Steelers’ offense has consistently sputtered during his tenure: from failing to generate explosive plays to poor designs to a lack of discipline, the unit has been anything but well-coached.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For the last three weeks, the Steelers have strung together much more holistically sound offensive performances. No, you’re not dreaming.

Let’s begin with maybe the biggest demarcation of an offense’s success, at the end of the day: scoring.

Pittsburgh had not outdone 20 points scored in a game for the first nine contests of 2022 but finally broke through against the Bengals in Week 11, notching 30 points (albeit seven came in garbage time). Then, the Steelers aggregated 24 points against a Colts defense allowing 20.3 points per game — an encouraging output. The Steelers’ latest three-game stretch marks the first time the team has posited 20+ points in three or more consecutive matchups in over two years.

There have been predominantly two catalysts behind this offensive turnaround: taking care of the ball and running well.

Pittsburgh has zero turnovers in its each of its prior three games, a feat it has not accomplished since Weeks 10-12, 2016. A major reason behind better ball security is the play of quarterback Kenny Pickett, who had nine giveaways in his first five appearances but has been in better rhythm and command.

While the Steelers’ passing attack has not exactly been prolific — more on that in a bit — its ground game has hit unforeseen strides, at least in recent history. Pittsburgh has accumulated 95 or more rushing yards in its last five games, eclipsing the century mark in the past four. It felt as though second-year rusher Najee Harris had unlocked something with a more north-south approach, but the efforts of Jaylen Warren, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr. and the entire offensive line cannot be overstated.

Would you believe it if I told you the Steelers rank sixth in the league in rushing expected points added, and 13th in rushing success rate? Given Pittsburgh’s inability to establish a legitimate run game since, effectively, 2017, this accomplishment has added contextual value.

All in all, the Steelers’ offense slots in at 21st in Football Outsiders DVOA, up from 22nd a week ago, and 22nd in Pro Football Focus grade. Given that Pittsburgh ranked 25th and 29th in those figures in 2021, respectively, better offense has indeed occurred, even if marginal.

Sure, there may finally be some form of sustained offensive momentum for Canada’s unit. But, this article is not just to bask in a unit that has been in the bottom quadrant for much of the season; rather, it’s to recognize areas for metered growth.

A focal point should be Pittsburgh’s aerial attack, which has been lackluster this season. As I mentioned earlier, the group has appeared much more in sync with improved play from Pickett, who is making quick reads and throwing relatively accurately.

At the same time, the rookie is not pushing the ball down the field: per Next Gen Stats, 22 of Pickett’s 28 attempts were under 10 air yards on Monday night. The Pitt product has just one start with north of 300 passing yards and is yet to toss multiple touchdowns in a game.

Such statistics can be viewed as more trivial compared to film assessment and advanced metrics — e.g., that Pittsburgh’s drop back EPA/play ranks 28th — but the point stands that Canada’s O is not doing measured damage through the air.

One way to possibly ameliorate any passing struggles is with better and more deliberate play calling. Although it appears that Canada has better tailored and diversified his selections in the past three games, the Steelers ranked 19th in early-down passing rate in that span, per RBSDM; likewise, for all of 2022, the team is 15th in that statistic. Comparatively, the Chiefs, Bengals and Bills sit atop the rankings, while the Seahawks, Eagles and Dolphins are also in the top 10. It’s not just coincidence that the NFL’s best offenses pass early and often to great success.

Aside from early-down pass frequency, the Steelers’ second-half offense has been extremely stagnant.

In the team’s past three games, Pittsburgh has scored 10, 10 and eight points in the third and fourth quarters compared to 10, 20 and 16 points in the first and second. This lack of scoring has been fueled by an inability to sustain drives. The Steelers have gone three-and-out to open the third quarter in their last two games; this dearth of possessing the ball has left the team’s defense susceptible to defensive lapses and tiring sequences.

With only six games remaining in 2022, the Steelers have an ever-so-faint heartbeat left to qualify for the postseason. Regardless of whether or not that goal is attainable, Mike Tomlin and Canada must utilize matchups against subpar defenses — particularly the Falcons, Panthers, Raiders and Browns — to not only maintain Pittsburgh’s bettered rushing attack, but to also obtain chunk plays through the air and in the second half.

STAFF PICKS: Predicting the winner of Steelers vs. Falcons

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 8:17am
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The staff at BTSC share their thoughts and predict the outcome of the Steelers game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13.

The 2022 regular season is full swing, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. While the Steelers get ready for their latest road game of the season, it is time for the BTSC staff to put on their prognostication hats and guess the winner of the contest.

Who will get closest? We will be keeping tabs, so let’s get the picks. Check out the staff picks below:

Jeff Hartman

The Pittsburgh Steelers were a team searching for an identity heading into the bye week. Coming out of the bye week they’ve identified a few areas where they can hang their hat. Running the ball, and stopping the run. Both will be critical, but I foresee this game being a bit higher scoring than most are predicting. I like the Steelers to win back-to-back for the first time this season.

Pick: Steelers 27, Falcons 20

Dave Schofield

After losing to the AFC representative in last year’s Super Bowl, the Steelers came out and had a come back win on Monday Night Football on the road. As they continue to improve as the season goes on, it’s important that this trend is the standard. If the Steelers play better than they did last week, they should beat this Falcons team on the road. Not only that, they can do it by more than one score. The big question is if they continue to improve. I’m going to believe that they can and they get their first double-digit win of the season.

Pick: Steelers 27, Falcons 17

Bryan Anthony Davis

I think the breakout happens now. Sorry draft tankers, black and gold are not getting a top 10 pick.

Pick: Steelers 39, Falcons 33

K.T. Smith

This is a huge game for the Steelers. Not for the standings, necessarily, but for their maturation. Are they good enough to win in back-to-back weeks, on the road, against mediocre but respectable opponents? Or will it be another case of one step forward, one (perhaps two) back again?

Winning in Indy and Atlanta in consecutive weeks isn’t the highest bar to clear, but it would demonstrate significant growth for a team that feels like it’s about to turn a corner. Will they do it? Your guess is as good as mine. Probably better, actually, given how bad I’ve been picking games this season. For what it’s worth, I say Kenny Pickett continues his ascension and the defense befuddles Marcus Mariota just enough to get the win.

Pick: Steelers 23, Falcons 20

Geoffrey Benedict

The Steelers get a team that doesn’t do much well, but run the ball. Steelers are set up for success here, and that has me worried. I still think they win, but a far closer and uglier game than people expect.

Pick: Steelers 21, Falcons 17

Rich Schofield (Big Bro Scho)

I don’t know how to pick Steeler games this season, as one week I see the team looking one way only to have them look nothing like that the next. The thing playing in the Steelers favor this week is that they play the Falcons, and after seeing some of their games this season I think they are even tougher to figure out than the Steelers. Dave and I said the Steelers need a short stack, and I will go ahead and say they do just enough to get that.

Pick: Steelers 23, Falcons 20

Shannon White

The Falcons are a one dimensional team on offense, and don't do anything particularly well on defense. The Steelers have an obvious talent advantage across the board, and are improving as a collected group by the week. If the Steelers play fundamentally sound across the board, protect the football, and avoid giving up splash plays; this could be an opportunity to put together their first complete game of the season. I will be focusing on the continued growth and maturation of the Steelers young core, and if the Steelers can avoid their troublesome third quarter issues. I will stick by my Know Your Enemy podcast prediction.

Pick: Steelers 27, Falcons 17

Jeremy Betz

This feels like the week we see the stat production start to match the better play we’re seeing from Kenny Pickett in recent weeks. I’m 3-0 in predictions since the bye so I’m leaning into my roll here with a bold prediction for a monster Kenny game with 250 yards and 3 TDs in a Steelers win!

Pick: Steelers 34, Falcons 24

Bradley Locker

I was quite surprised to see the Steelers listed as underdogs in Atlanta given that the team has looked better in the last three weeks; plus, Pittsburgh is 2-0 against the woeful NFC South this year. Atlanta’s offense could pose problems for a defense that remains inconsistent, but without Kyle Pitts, it’s mainly about keying in on Drake London and Cordarrelle Patterson (which means a Damiere Byrd breakout will certainly occur). However, I think the Steelers’ offense maintains momentum against a poor Falcons defense, and the defense — led by T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, of course — makes enough plays for a victory.

Pick: Steelers 28, Falcons 24

Kyle Chrise (What Yinz Talkin’ Bout)

It’s hell-unleashing season, nuff said. Despite what has so far been the Steelers’ worst season in a generation, Mike Tomlin will not have this team going gently into the night. The Steelers won’t go back in the shell. They will be in attack mode, because that is what is required. And if the offensive line continues to look like hell hounds in the running game, the Falcons won’t need splash plays, they’ll need holy water.

Pick: Steelers 20, Falcons 10

Anthony Defeo

Will the third time be the charm for the Steelers winning a second game in a row and giving themselves and their fans the false hope of being in the playoff race? I'd like to think so.

Pick: Steelers 24, Falcons 21

What is your prediction? Let us know in the comment section below, and feel free to tell the contributors above why they are dead wrong, or spot on!

Steelers fan confidence sky rockets as indecision on rest of 2022 continues

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 7:00am
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is gaining confidence, but how they handle the rest of the regular season is anything but certain.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had their fans feeling good this past offseason. The free agent moves made and the 2022 NFL Draft class had the black-and-gold faithful feeling good. Then you throw in the fact the team went 3-0 in the preseason, and you’d believe confidence was brimming with the fan base. But throughout the preseason, several issues popped up with the team in all facets. Nonetheless, the hope was they’d fix it while they won football games.

As you can imagine, Steelers fans weren’t brimming with confidence heading into their Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio. Nonetheless, the team found a way to upset the Bengals 23-20 in overtime and move their record to 1-0.

Such a crazy game, and victory, you’d think this would create a big bump in fan confidence, right?

Not so much.

What started next was a skid to forget. The Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, one where the offense essentially failed to show up, caused the Steelers fan base to lose faith, and in a hurry. Following the Steelers Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football, confidence in the team remained low.

But, have no fear, hope was on the way! Everyone assumed it would come via a win over the Jets in Week 4, but that didn’t happen. However, hope, as it turns out, was found in the second half of the Steelers loss to the New York Jets. When Kenny Pickett entered the game as the starting quarterback it caused a rise in fan confidence throughout the fan base. Yes, even in a losing effort.

How long did the Pickett surge in confidence last? Well, after the 38-3 shellacking against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5...not very long. However, the roller coaster ride which is Steelers fan confidence continued after the team upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6 at Acrisure Stadium.

What has been the going trend with the team’s up-and-down season, the Steelers followed up the win at home with a dude against the Miami Dolphins in prime time in Week 7. While the team’s loss in Week 8 to the Philadelphia Eagles was disheartening, the fan base received an injection of hope when the team traded Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for a 2nd Round 2023 NFL Draft pick. After the Week 9 bye, the Steelers did something they hadn’t done much, and that’s win. A dominating Week 10 win, combined with the return of T.J. Watt to the lineup, has fans feeling good about the direction of the organization.

In Week 11 a 37-30 loss to the Bengals has the roller coaster ride of fan confidence moving once again. What the team needed was a bounce back game, and they got it on Monday Night Football with a 24-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

As a part of SB Nation’s Reacts poll, sponsored by DraftKings Sportsbook, every fan who takes the poll, which equates to a lot of fans, were asked a simple question:

Are you confident in the direction of the team?

How far did confidence fall after the Week 12 win? Well, it sky rocketed. Take a look at where the confidence was, and where it is now, below:

Preseason Confidence: 91%
Pre-Regular Season Confidence: 81%
Week 1 Confidence: 80%
Week 2 Confidence: 20%
Week 3 Confidence: 21%
Week 4 Confidence: 52%
Week 5 Confidence: 22%
Week 6 Confidence: 54%
Week 7 Confidence: 36%
Week 8 Confidence: 35%
Week 9 Confidence: 21%
Week 10 Confidence: 57%
Week 11 Confidence: 23%
Wee 12 Confidence: 70%

With confidence on the rise, it felt obvious to ask a follow-up question. This follow-up question was all about how the fans think the Steelers should handle the rest of the 2022 regular season. The question pertained to what was more important for the ream down the stretch. The options were the following:

  • Success
  • Higher Draft Pick(s)

Here are the results:

55% of the fan base believes the best course of action is for the team to win, but that percentage is far from a run-away winner in this debate. There is still a large contingent of the fan base who want the team to get the highest pick possible. Ultimately, everyone wants the team to succeed, but how they do it is up for debate.

A lot can change throughout the course of a regular season, and we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-speed on the fan base’s feelings of the team. But what say you? Do you have confidence in the direction of the team?

Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13 of the regular season.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

The BTSC Delorean: Looking back at the most memorable Steelers vs. Falcons contests

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

The most memorable games in history played between Atlanta and Pittsburgh

Do the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers have a long and storied history? They do not. But the rivalry dates back to 1966, and the series only includes 17 games. No matter the record of either team, they both always seem to put on a fantastic show with great storylines attached. Between 2002-2010, these teams went to overtime on three occasions.

Here’s a brief tale of the tape:

Points: Steelers 520, Falcons 320

Wins: Steelers 14, Falcons 2, Ties 1

Home Record: Steelers 7-0-1, Falcons 2-7-0

Shutouts: 0

Biggest Win Margin: 09/27/1993 - Steelers 45, Falcons 17

Closest Game: Falcons 34, Steelers 34 (11/10/2002)

Overtime Games: 3 - Steelers 1-1-1, Falcons 1-1-1

Postseason Record: None

December 18, 1966 - Steelers 57, Falcons 33

The very first meeting between the Steelers and Falcons came on the very last weekend of the 1966 season with the 4-8-1 Steelers visiting 3-10 Atlanta and an expansion club looking for a fourth win in a row to become the winningest first-year team in NFL history. The Steelers were merely just looking to end another dismal season on a high note.

Bill Nelsen, who missed a good bit of the year out with injury, was back starting at quarterback for Pittsburgh. After a punt and a Bill Saul fumble recovery of an Ernie Wheelright fumble, the Steelers struck first with two Mike Clark field goals of 22. Late In the opening quarter, a John Campbell interception of Falcons QB Randy Johnson gives the Steelers excellent field position for Gary Ballman to catch a pass in the end zone for a 13-0 lead for the visitors form the North. The Steelers would extend that lead after a Brady Keys interception of a long pass by Johnson gains another Pittsburgh possession at the Falcons 48. Amos Bullocks ground out a 13-yard run to glory, and the score was 20-0.

The Falcons would see their side lit up on the scoreboard though. Junior Coffey’s one-yard rush capped off a lengthy drive to make the score 20-7. But the Steelers had a sustained drive of their own on the next series and Cannonball Butler’s push from a yard away put six more points on the board, as problems on the hold affected the point after. Bill Saul’s interception next would help the Steelers get more points, as Clark hit from 21 with time running low. The halftime scoreboard read 29-7.

The Falcons would strike first after intermission. Avoiding an intense rush, Johnson launched one for an all-alone Preston Ridlehuber, who strolls in for a 53-yard score and only a 29-14 deficit. But the Steelers will score three straight times after that with Cannonball Butler’s one yard dive, Roy Jefferson hauling in of a 68-yard pass from and Clendon Thomas’ 23-yard fumble return of a Junior Coffey miscue to make the score 50-14. The Falcons do try to scratch back though as the Steelers ignore Ridlehuber again in the end zone for his second score.

In the fourth, the Steelers add a Willie Asbury run from two-yards out to close out their scoring, as the Falcons replace Johnson Dennis Claridge. Claridge locates Taz Anderson for a 62-yard score. The duo will do it again from 12 yards away after the Falcs recover a fumbled punt return by Brady Keys. But the Steelers triumph and had back home for the holidays on a winning note of 57-33.

October 4, 1987 - Steelers 28, Falcons 12

Supposedly not wanting a repeat of 1982 when the NFL lost seven games due to a players’ strike, the owners hedged their bets and brought in replacement players and welcomed those who decide to cross the picket line. After only having the third week of the season wiped out, the Steelers held their camp at the Point Stadium in Johnstown and fielded a team of virtual unknowns to don the hypocycloids. Week 4 was the first installment of these such “scab” games around the NFL and the sort-of Steelers traveling to Atlanta to play the fairly-false Falcons was what fans got. Starting for the Steelers was Steve Bono (12/22 for 164 yards) who would carve a pretty decent career for himself in the league. but the 25-year old from UCLA was ineffective during the first quarter. Atlanta took a 3-0 lead when rookie Greg Davis (12-year NFL career) kicked a 27-yard field goal and the Falcons were threatening to score again after recovering a Russell Hairston fumble. However, former Oilers cornerback Larry Griffin, who came into Johnstown late and would have a seven-year career with the Steelers, nabbed his first of two interceptions of quarterback Erik Kramer. Yeah that Kramer, who was in replacement camp for the Steelers and led the Detroit Lions to the 1991 NFC Championship Game. Griffin’s second-quarter pick set up Earnest Jackson’s run behind Mike Webster (the only Steelers regulars to cross the picket line) for a one-yard touchdown run and a 7-3 lead. The Steelers increased that Steelers lead when Russell Hairston, late of the Arena League’s Pittsburgh Gladiators, caught a 5-yard completion from Bono for the score. The Steelers took a 14-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. In the third, Bono was penalized for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety but made up for it with a 5-yard touchdown through a hole created by Mike Webster. With Pittsburgh leading 21-5, Noll gave his QB2, Reggie Collier, some game action and the former USFL and Dallas Cowboy, found Joey Clinkscales for an 11-yard touchdown completion in the end zone to increase the Steelers lead to increase the lead to an insurmountable 28-5 lead. Atlanta scored on a garbage time pass from Jeff Van Raaphorst to Milton Barney, but the game was too far out of reach and the Steelers prevailed 28-12. It was a masterful job by Head Coach Chuck Noll to have these guys ready and the Steelers were fortunate to have the services of All-Pros Jackson (104 yards and a TD) and Webster and great performances by Griffin (two INT, three pass defenses and seven tackles) and the ninth-rounder Clinkscales (six receptions for 150 yards). The Steelers upped their record to 3-1 and when a reporter asked Noll if it was an NFL-caliber game, the legendary coach boldly retorted, “It was today.”

November 4, 1990 - Steelers 21, Falcons 9

Chuck Noll and Jerry Glanville had a very contentious relationship dating back to their bitter AFC Central rivalry. In fact, the meeting between the Houston Oilers and Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1989 AFC Wildcard Game ended with Noll’s club shocking the football world and “the Man in Black” getting his walking papers out of Space City and finding himself in Hot-lanta. And lo and behold, Glanville’s old rival was next on the dance card, as the 4-4 Steelers welcomed Jerry and his 3-4 Falcons to Three Rivers Stadium.

After a 1-3 first quarter of the season, Noll’s Steelers were riding high in the second four contests to flip that record to 4-4. With the AFC Player of the Month in Bubby Brister, the Steelers offense had certainly come alive, but not in the first half as three Greg Davis field goals (41, 43, and gave the Falcons a 9-0 lead at intermission. The first score was due to Larry Griffin, an up man, fumbling away the opening kickoff, while a punt, a Merrill Hoge miscue, and an egregious 40-yard penalty on Rod Woodson for pass interference led to the second and third, respectively. Atlanta looked to have the right stuff to score again before halftime, but Dwayne Woodruff halted that talk with a 69-yard interception return on the last play of the first half.

In the second half, the Steelers seized control as Bubby Brister passed for two second-half touchdowns. After Davis missed his second field goal attempt of the afternoon, No. 6 hit Louis Lipps for 11 yards with 7:17 to go in the third quarter. His other scoring pass came on a 19 yarder to Mike Mularkey early in the fourth after a Larry Griffin interception of QB Chris Miller. Glanville’s Red Gun offense was attempting to fire themselves back in the game, but Bryan Hinkle forced and recovered a Mike Rozier fumble at the Pittsburgh 21 with 3:06 left. To follow, Warren Williams would put the game out of reach when he raced for a 70-yard touchdown to make the score 21-9. Craig Veasey erased all doubt when he would recover a fumble by Rozier, the former Pittsburgh Mauler No. 1 overall pick in 1984, after a catch on the very next possession. The win would propel Pittsburgh to 5-4, and a tie with Cincinnati for first place in the division. But although he would never admit it, one could only imagine the satisfaction of Chuck Noll after vanquishing his hated rival once again.

November 10, 2002 - Steelers 34, Falcons 34 (OT)

Both the Steelers and the Falcons started off their 2002 seasons poorly at 1-3, but four-game winning streaks had both franchises staring the second half of the NFL season off in a positive manner at 5-3 and a postseason berth possibly on the horizon. For the Steelers, Tommy Maddox continued his career revival with a comeback story that got more Hollywood feel-good every week.

On a beautiful Autumn Sunday with the temperature 64 degrees at Heinz Field, the two teams exchanged fumbles and punts in the first four series of the game. When Maddox’ efforts on the third drive stalled at the Atlanta 16, struggling Todd Peterson (10 for 15 on field goal attempts in 8 games) put the first points on the board with a good kick from 34 yards away with :09 seconds remaining in the first. Vick worked quick to hook up with Shaun Jefferson on the next series with a 43-yard pass play, that was not to be outdone by Maddox countering with a 33-yard, circus catch by Plaxico Burress in the end zone and a scoring toss from the 5 to Hines Ward for a 17-7 lead.The Steelers did get a break when Plex spiked the ball without being touched, but he was ruled down, instead of turning the ball over to Atlanta, something that he did as a rookie two years before against Jacksonville. The Steelers had a chance to add on to their advantage, but Peterson missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with no time left on the clock,

In Half No. 2, Atlanta and Pittsburgh traded off big pays with a 59-yard sideline dash by Warrick Dunn, and a 62-yard catch-and-run by Burress but Peterson’s point-after was blocked. The score was now 23-14, Steelers. After a Jay Feely field goal from 36, Maddox would throw his fourth touchdown of the day for 18 yards to Jerame Tuman, which was followed up by a Hines Ward catch for the two-pointer. It was a comfy 31-17 with 2:31 left in the third. Then Dwayne Washington nailed Brian Finneran and he coughed up the ball and it was recovered by James Farrior at the Atlanta 41. Playing conservatively on the drive, Amos Zeroue (123 yards on 37 Carrie’s) starting for the injured Jerome Bettis, ran the ball seven straight plays to the 16. The Steelers would get another Peterson field goal out of it and a comfortable 34-17 score. But it was far from comfy and safe with 12:58 remaining on the game clock.

When Jason Gildon sacked Vick for a three-and-out, it looked like victory was exit straight ahead. But instead, No. 7 in white Vick rallied Atlanta from 17 points down in the fourth quarter. How? Antwaan Randle-El fumbled the ensuing punt to be recovered by Mark Simoneau. With the new life, Dan Reeve’s team moved to the doorstep, and Bob Christian plowed in for a 1-yard TD. Then Tommy Maddox and the Steelers offense couldn’t work the clock down and went stone cold, as Feeley hit another field goal. After a second-straight three-and-out, Josh Miller boomed a 57-yard punt, but Allen Rossum returned the offering 34 yards to set the Falcons up at the 50 with less than two-minutes left. Vick engineered another scoring drive and finished it when he rolled in from 11-yards out in only a mere one minute and four seconds. Maddox couldn’t get the Steelers close enough with :42 ticks left, so the game went into an extra quarter.

Overtime was insane for a full 15 minutes. Tommy Maddox drove the Steelers close enough to attempt a Todd Peterson redemption field goal from 48, but it was blocked and gave Atlanta great field position, only to go three-and-out. From there Maddox drove the Steelers down to the enemy 33 but decided to punt on fourth down instead of trying a 50-yard field goal with Peterson. With a chance to win it, the Falcons couldn’t move past their own 23 and had to punt again. This is where Maddox stumbled, throwing a ball to Plaxico that was picked by Kevin Mathis with 1:48 remaining on the clock and the white-black-and-red on the Steelers 44. The Steelers forced a fourth down situation, but Atlanta expertly drained the clock and brought in Feely for a 56-yarder and the win. It was James Farrior coming up huge again with the block and the Steelers had one more shot with one second remaining in a crazy 74:49 minutes of play on their own 49. Maddox launched a pass towards the end zone and it was miraculously caught by Plaxico at the one. No. 80 was immediately tackled by Finneran with half of his body in the end zone but not the ball. Bill Cowher argued that it was in. to no avail, and his offense didn’t have enough time to run another play. It was the Men of Steel’s first tie since a 35-35 game against Denver in 1974. But to some it felt like a loss due to the circumstances. Maddox was 28 of 41 for 473 yards, breaking Bobby Layne’s 1958 mark of 409 yards, while Burress made nine catches to beat Buddy Dial’s franchise record with 253 yards to go with his two touchdowns, but to some it felt like a loss due to the circumstances. “We didn’t win but, we didn’t lose,’’ Burress said as reported by ESPN. “It’s so disappointing. You have this uneasy feeling that you lost, but you know you really didn’t.’’

As somebody in the stands that day, I wholeheartedly agree.

October 22, 2006 - Falcons 41, Steelers 38 (OT)

The Falcons and Steelers don’t get together that often, but the action is pretty good when they do. But this 2006 meeting in the Peach State was an absolute thriller. The Falcons got on the board first after a punt on their first series was fumbled by Santonio Holmes at the 22 and recovered by Adam Jennings. Immediately, Michael Vick teamed up with TE Alge Crumpler for a 22-yard touchdown and a 7-0 advantage. But the Steelers roared back to take a 17-7 lead behind a Jeff Reed field goal, a gorgeous Troy Polamalu interception of Vick that set up a Hines Ward 11-yard scoring catch, and a Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller pass play of a yard for the TD and a 17-7 lead. But then it would be The Falcons’ turn again with the flurry of points continuing. Atlanta would capitalize on a Big Ben fumbled snap recovered by Michael Boley and a surprise onsides kick for two touchdown passes, a second to Crumpler and another to Michael Jenkins for 17 yards. The Steelers would counter though, as the lead would eventually change hands six times in the dome on this day, with Big Ben locating Nate Washington for a 10-yard scoring play to put the visitors back up in the final minute.

A tradeoff of three-and-outs started the new half, but the second possession for the Steelers saw disaster strike. Ben was hit by a flock of Falcons three different ways, including a helmet-to- helmet blow that rendered the third-year man laid-out and motionless for more than five minutes on the hard Georgia Dome surface. Roethlisberger’s tremendous 15/20 passing, 235-yard, three touchdown day came to an end as he was ushered out on a stretcher. Charlie Batch came in, but the drive halted with a Willie Parker fumble after a catch that was forced and recovered by Johnathan Babineaux put the ball in Vick’s mitts on the Steelers 26. The Falcons QB found Crumpler again over the middle for 23 and Warrick Dunn waltzed in from the 1 to give Atlanta the lead again, 28-24. Put the pinball effect was not nearly over. Batch went deep to Hines for a 70-yard touchdown connection in which No. 86 ran out of his shoe, and yet a third Vick to Crumpler hookup to make the scoreboard light up to read Atlanta 35, Pittsburgh 31 with 1:18 to go in the third. Vick had never enjoyed anything more than a two-touchdown game, and on this day No. 7 had a career day and threw for four.

A couple of punts highlighted the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Atlanta ended that with a Morten Andersen 25-yarder with 6:28 to go. But a determined Batch would take very little time in finding Nate Washington for a gain of 49, and then to Ward for 17 day (8 catches, 171 yds, 3 TDs) and the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s third score of the day. With the score dead-locked at 34 and 3:21 left on the clock, the defense of the Steelers had to clamp down on the dynamic and fruitful, future Steeler. Vick drove his team down to the Steelers 38 before the drive stalled. Falcon’s Head Coach Jim Mora called upon his punter Michael Koenen to attempt the 56 -yarder instead of his 46-year-old Hall of Famer Andersen. The kick sailed through the uprights, but Bill Cowher called a timeout right before the ball was snapped. Koenen’s second attempt was wide right, but Polamalu was called for running into the kicker. For some reason, Cowher called his final timeout here, and the Falcons made a switch. Andersen was reinserted to attempt the kick from 52, his kick looked like it was perfect but fell just short. Immediately after that, Batch launched one to Ward for 25 yards to get close to Jeff Reed’s range with :17 seconds remaining but Washington was called for a false start on the next play and the game went into extras.

In overtime, Atlanta won the toss and Vick avoided a fierce rush by Polamalu on 3rd and 9 to hit a long pass play to (of course) Crumpler to put the Falcons in business. Morten Andersen then finished it with a 32-yd game-winning kick, and the Steelers lost a thriller to fall to a debilitating 2-4.

September 12, 2010 - Steelers 15, Falcons 9 (OT)

With Ben Roethlisberger serving a six-game suspension, Dennis Dixon was the quarterback of choice to start the 2010 regular season at home against the Atlanta Falcons. Jeff Reed got the Steelers on the board first on the game’s first position with a 52-yard field goal, at the time it was the longest field goal in Heinz Field history. Then the drought hit both teams and a dust storm of punts followed. Then Dennis Dixon had enough of the seven-straight combined punts and ended that streak and a nearly five-minute drive by throwing an interception in field goal range to Atlanta’s Mike Peterson. More ineptitude followed as both teams traded missed field goals, But Matt Ryan engineered a drive to tie the score at three-all with a field goal as the gun sounded. In the second half, the Falcons drove down and kicked another field goal to take a 6-3 lead. But the Steelers would match it on the next possession and then take the lead with another Reed field goal in the fourth. It got interesting on the next possession as Ryan was dropped by Lawrence Timmons and the ball squirted loose to be snapped up by James Harrison who returned it for a scoop-six. But Mike Smith challenged, and the Falcons had new life. Seven plays later, Ryan completed to Roddy White, but Ike Taylor made a huge stop of the Falcons star at the Steelers five to force a field goal with 3:24 remaining to tie things up at 9-9. Dixon had plenty of time to get the home team in position for the win, but a sack by Kroy Biermann forced another punt and gave Mike Smith’s team a shot at closing things out. Troy Polamalu would have none of that though, intercepting Matt Ryan with 1:41 left on the clock at the Steelers 29. Perfect opportunity for Jeff Reed, right? Put in what would be his final year for the Steelers do too having an ineffective year, Skippy pulled the 40-yard attempt wide right. In OT, the Falcons were forced to punt the ball away and a few plays later, Rashard Mendenhall added 50 yards to his total that reached 120 on the afternoon, and his run to glory would put a bow on a 15-9 victory. The Steelers would use this game as a launching pad for confidence without Ben for a while, and upon his return, No. 7 would lead the team to their third AFC Title in six years.

Distribution Map: Check out if you will get to see the Steelers vs. Falcons game

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 6:00am

The Steelers are playing the Falcons in Week 13. Will you get to see it?

If you were like me, before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

So, will you get to see the Steelers and the Falcons go head-to-head in Week 13? Check out which games you’ll see in your local viewing area.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

RED: Jets at Vikings
BLUE: Broncos at Ravens
GREEN: Steelers at Falcons
YELLOW: Browns at Texans

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!

HERE WE GO!!

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sun, 12/04/2022 - 5:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest two podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said or typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

We Run the North: A Steelers winning streak?, Ravens fall, and what DeSean playing means

Join BTSC’s Kevin Tate and his AFC North Crew featuring Brandon Herriott and Pay Saunders as they break down the division before Week 13 for the Browns, Bengals, Ravens and Steelers.

Rundown:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • B-Dirt & Pay
  • Pick’em
  • Can the Steelers go on a streak?
  • Deshaun Watson will play, will it make a difference?
  • AFC North Happenings

Listen to the show on the player below:

Last Minute Thoughts before the Steelers Week 13 fight with the Falcons

There’s always a lot of material rolling through a Steelers fan’s cranium on game day. What’s the injury report telling us? Did something happen that I missed? Am I going to even see the game in my broadcast area? What’s the line if I want to bet my mortgage on the game? At BTSC, we’re no different. Join BTSC with our last-minute thoughts as you prepare to wave that Terrible Towel. This week, Dave Schofield gives his last-minute thoughts right before the Steelers Week 13 contest against the Falcons.

Rundown:

  • Last Minute Thoughts before Steelers at Atlanta
  • Injury Report
  • Lines
  • How to watch

Listen to the show on the player below:

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Saturday Night Open Thread: ‘Just wait ‘til next year’

Sat, 12/03/2022 - 6:00pm
Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Come and join this merry band of Steelers’ faithful for some lively debate about our Steelers, good food, music, and the merits of the odd cold beverage.

A cold, rainy, windy and otherwise miserable day here, south of Detroit. Yes, a perfect day to binge, college football, habs hockey, and nurse the equally miserable cold I have been dealing with.

Mrs. Canuck, the kids and I have been slowly getting the Christmas decorations up over the last two weeks or so. We should be done this weekend. I realize that sounds like we have a lot of stuff but it has been more a case of timing, well a ‘lack of time’.

  1. The Falcons have what I would say is the greatest “BiG gAmE” choke of all time. They had no business losing that game. That being said, many feel that the Steelers defense has no business performing the way it has this year. On paper, we are reported to have excellent coaching and all star talent at all three levels, so what gives?
  2. All things considered, Kenny performed rather well on Monday night. How happy are you with his progression to date?
  3. With all the injuries to our RBs we have become a running back by committee team. Is there A) any chance that our philosophy we stay that way once everyone is healthy? or B) what about a 65, 30, 5 percent type of split?
  4. What Christmas gift would you give the Steelers before the end of the year?
  5. What is your favorite Christmas decoration?

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