Late surge falls short for Atlanta Falcons in 27-20 defeat


With injured wide receiver Julio Jones on the sideline and a sputtering running game, the Atlanta Falcons fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon by a final score of 27-20. Despite another fourth quarter surge, Atlanta could not capitalize on opportunities to close the gap on the now 9-5 Steelers. Falcons running back Steven Jackson started strong, but could not break out from the physical Steeler defense. He would finish the game with just 46 yards rushing.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan finished the game 26 for 37 with 310 passing yards, with 131 of those yards going to Harry Douglas, who had his best game of the season. The Atlanta receivers picked up the slack left by injured Julio Jones and, as a group, they racked up over 300 yards through the air. However, a pick six by Steeler cornerback William Gay in the first half put the Falcons in a 20-7 hole going into halftime, and that was enough of a cushion to hold off the Falcons.

Although the Atlanta defense held Le’Veon Bell to under 3 yards per rushing attempt (an impressive mark), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found receiver Antonio Brown 10 times for 123 yards. Big Ben also broke his career record for passing yards. Bell would punch in two touchdown runs against a run defense that ranks last in touchdowns allowed with 19. The Falcons outscored Pittsburgh 13-7 in the second half, but it was not enough to get their sixth win of the season.

As strange as the season has gone, the Atlanta Falcons can win their next two games and win the NFC South. The divisional crown campaign starts next Sunday at New Orleans where Drew Brees and the Saints will have something to say about the Falcons playoff hopes.

Stay tuned to ATL All Day for all the latest coverage of the Atlanta Falcons throughout the 2014 season.