|Date of game: 12/14/2014
Recap: Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Le'Veon Bell scored twice and set the Steelers franchise record for yards from scrimmage as Pittsburgh went into Atlanta and beat the Falcons 27-20 on Sunday.
Bell did not find much running room against an uncharacteristically stingy Atlanta front, but he did reach the end zone twice among 20 carries for 47 yards. He also made five catches for 72 yards and broke Barry Foster's single-season Steelers record for yards from scrimmage with 2,042.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 27-of-35 passes for 360 yards, 123 of those going to his favorite target, Antonio Brown. Brown extended his streak of at least five catches and 50 yards to 30 games.
"If you can get hot and play your best football at the right time, you're a dangerous football team," Roethlisberger said. "I don't know if we're there yet, but we got a win and we're happy about it."
With the win, the Steelers (9-5) kept pace in the tight AFC North race. Cincinnati, which blanked Johnny Manziel and the Browns on Sunday, maintained its half-game lead ahead of Pittsburgh and Baltimore, which took down Jacksonville.
Matt Ryan threw for 310 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Falcons (5-9), who remain alive in the lowly NFC South.
"We felt we had lots of chances to have a different outcome," said Falcons coach Mike Smith.
Harry Douglas filled in admirably for an injured Julio Jones, making 10 catches for 131 yards. Jones, who was coming off a career-high 259 yards against Green Bay last Monday, was unable to play through a hip pointer injury he suffered late in a loss to the Packers.
Roethlisberger completed four of his five passes for 52 yards on Pittsburgh's opening touch, but he missed Heath Miller on 3rd-and-5 from the 20. The Steelers settled for a 38-yard Shaun Suisham field goal.
Suisham split the uprights again from 38 yards away with two seconds left in the first quarter to cap a 72-yard drive.
On the first play of the second, Ryan underthrew Douglas. William Gay jumped the route, came up with his third interception of the season and juked two Falcons on his way to a 52-yard touchdown return.
"This week didn't start the way that we wanted it to," said Ryan. "We had opportunities early on and just missed on a couple."
Atlanta got on the board with 4:19 left in the second half, when Ryan floated a ball to the back right corner of the end zone for Devin Hester. His second receiving TD of the year made it 13-7.
Brown's 28-yard reception near the left pylon in the final minute led to Bell's short rushing score that made it 20-7 at halftime. Brown was initially ruled out of bounds, but a lengthy review determined that he got both feet down at the 1-yard line.
Atlanta controlled the clock in the third quarter with two lengthy drives but had just two Matt Bryant field goals to show for it. Drives of 70 and 75 yards led to a pair of short kicks.
The Falcons were within a touchdown heading into the fourth, but Bell's 13- yard TD run down the left sideline 49 seconds into the final stanza gave the Steelers a 27-13 lead.
Roddy White's 4-yard touchdown grab, set up by a 41-yard Douglas pitch-and- catch, had Atlanta again within seven points with just over 10 minutes remaining.
The Falcons went three-and-out later in the fourth and Pittsburgh was able to milk the remainder of the clock. On 3rd-and-1 from the Falcons 39 out of the two-minute warning, Roethlisberger used a play fake to get the defense off balance and hit Miller for a 25-yard gain.
Roethlisberger kneeled twice to burn the remaining time.Game Notes
The Falcons have allowed an NFL-worst 19 rushing touchdowns ... The Steelers
are 13-2-1 all-time against Atlanta ... Atlanta fell to 0-8 this season when
running 24 or fewer times ... Foster set the previous Steelers franchise
record for yards from scrimmage in 1992 ... Both teams went 6-for-11 on third