Steelers use run game, field goals to fend off Falcons
Matthew Wright kicked four field goals, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett threw a touchdown pass and the Pittsburgh Steelers held off the host Atlanta Falcons 19-16 on Sunday.
Pickett was 16 of 28 for 197 yards and didn’t turn the ball over for the fourth straight game after tossing eight interceptions in his first five games. Pittsburgh (5-7) sealed the game with Minkah Fitzpatrick’s interception of Marcus Mariota with 35 seconds left.
Mariota completed 13 of 24 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown, finding MyCole Pruitt with a 7-yard strike with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter to cut the Steelers’ advantage to 19-13.
The Falcons (5-8) drew within three points when Younghoe Koo converted a 28-yard field goal at the 5:27 mark of the fourth quarter to cap a drive of nearly 9 1/2 minutes. But they couldn’t get any closer and fell a game behind Tampa Bay in the NFC South. The Buccaneers host New Orleans Monday night.
Pittsburgh outgained Atlanta 351-306, thanks to a running game that produced 154 yards on 37 carries and hogged the ball for nearly 33 minutes. Najee Harris led the way with 86 yards on 17 attempts.
Cordarrelle Patterson rushed 11 times for 60 yards for the Falcons.
Much as it did in Monday night’s 24-17 win at Indianapolis, Pittsburgh controlled the first half with an offense that scored on every possession and kept Atlanta’s offense cooling its heels on the sidelines.
Wright initiated scoring for the Steelers with a pair of 46-yard field goals nine minutes apart. The Falcons finally got a drive going long enough to get a 50-yard field goal from Koo with 9:15 left in the first half.
But Pittsburgh responded. A 57-yard completion from Pickett to Pat Freiermuth set up Pickett’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Connor Heyward at the 7:06 mark.
Koo and Wright swapped long field goals in the final 5:05 of the half, enabling the Steelers to head into halftime with a 16-6 lead.
–Field Level Media