Two teams that seemed to be solid Super Bowl contenders found themselves in a must win game in just the fifth game of the season. Both teams came into the game with one win and a were hoping to get their season back on track. The Steelers were trying to silence the off-the-field noise. The Falcons trying to get confidence despite their many injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons lost 41-17 to the Steelers at Heinz Stadium for their fourth lost of the season.
Offense Struggles For Rhythm
The offense could not find a rhythm the entire game. The Steelers applied a lot of pressure on Matt Ryan and he had little time to make throws. Ryan passed for 285 yards, but got sacked 6 times. The Falcons offensive line have had to deal with Andy Levitre being put on injured reserve and being unavailable the rest of the season.
The wide receivers had a seemingly quiet day and Julio Jones did not have a reception until the fourth quarter. In addition, the running game did not improve with the return of Devonta Freeman. At one point The Falcons had four straight negative plays on 1st down. That is not the way to win a game of football.
In the fourth quarter, Ryan had a fumble which was recovered by the Steelers for their last touchdown of the game. That play ended Ryan’s time in the game and brought in Matt Schaub as the game got completely out of reach.
Falcons continue their struggles on defense
In the previous games this year, the defense has been tasked with trying to preserve a lead their offense has created. However, the offensive struggles in this game led to a different requirement all together. No longer could they try and play a bend but do not break style. They needed to stop the Steelers and not allow any more points so the offense could try to get back in the game. For a period of this game they did it reasonably well. Damontae Kazee got an interception in the end zone at the end of the first half and gave the Falcons momentum going into half time.
The Big Moment
The Falcons trailed 13-10 at halftime and would receive the ball to start the 3rd quarter, but could not get points off the drive. Then the Steelers special teams made a play which broke the game wide open. A blocked punt in the third quarter allowed them to extended the lead to 20-10 and they never looked back. The Falcons scored just once more and the game was as good as over midway through the 3rd quarter.
The Final Word
The season has begun to look out of reach for the Falcons. The early season close losses have led to a 1-4 record at the beginning of October. In a season that many hoped for another Super Bowl appearance, fans are now just hoping for a winning season. The Falcons are 1-1 in the division and hope to at least improve to a wining divisional record with their next game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coming off a bye week, will visit the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.