Steelers Vs Falcons Winners And Losers

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Winners and losers of the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-16 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

WINNERS

Najee Harris – Harris certainly didn’t run like someone who was taken to the hospital six days ago. Harris angrily ran off with a big stiff arm from the start, picking up nearly half his yards on contact. He showed good vision and combined this with getting North/South and finishing his runs. Harris has been looking much healthier and better since the first two months of the season and the results are following.

Cam Sutton– A solid game for Sutton. The Falcons don’t exactly have the best receivers in the world, but Sutton has been competitive at catching point in the last two games and had solid tackles in the open field off the great Drake London on the outside. It is not a high-end or elite corner, but solid, stable and technical. Worth the shoutout.

Matthew Wright – Kudos to Wright. After a bumpy start to his Steelers career (Part Two) against the New Orleans Saints, he’s been solid ever since. Wright made three field goals from 46+ yards and while he got some kicker-friendly bounces off the upright, but hey, points are points and points are points. Wright’s leg saved a Steelers offense that struggled to complete drives.

He also did an excellent job at the kick-off. Keeping the ball away from the dangerous Cordarrelle Patterson, the Steelers opted to use pooch kicks for the up-men instead. That requires accuracy and touch, and Wright was terrified. It looks like Chris Boswell will return next week, but Wright has held the fort well.

Pat Freiermuth/Connor Heyward: With apologies to Zach Gentry, good day to be a Steelers’ tight end. Freiermuth was fantastic, a third down machine with a 57-yarder that set up Heyward’s 17-yard touchdown. Freiermuth had problems with pass protection, it’s not his strength or something he’s done a lot this year, but he’s gotten much better by being “quick to the crease” after his sophomore year and getting more YAC. Heyward caught his first score; pretty hands grab a great route to bite safety.

Pressley Harvin III/Minkah Fitzpatrick: A few late but important additions to the list. Harvin with a dime of a punt that landed right in front of the goal line, while Fitzpatrick called the next play and picked Marcus Mariota to seal it. Elite plays everywhere.

LOSERS

Steven Sims- Difficult for Sims. A drop on a nice throw from Kenny Pickett into the right seam and another possible third down conversion was wiped out as Sims stepped out of bounds. Just bad consciousness. The second leg was also disappointing, a muff he recovered and a passable catch when he had over 10 yards of space in front of him. Calvin Austin will be in the mix next year, but this team needs to add a slot receiver next season.

Red Zone Fringe/Offensive Finish – The Steelers offense just can’t end. They acknowledge the problem, Cam Heyward talked about it earlier this week, but they’re approaching 20 and they’re just falling apart. Figures that don’t always reveal themselves in red zone data. But tons of drives with the ball around 30 that just fall out. You can’t beat good teams on field goals and you let average teams hang around. In a game where the Falcons could have been taken out of their run-first approach with a few Steelers touchdowns, Pittsburgh’s inability to finish allowed them to stick to their game plan.

Diontae Johnson – Johnson’s messy season continues. A drop, a false start and a (near) fumble in the fourth quarter. Whatever the flip side of the Gordie Howe hat-trick, Johnson did it. He is very lucky that officials overturned the initially mentioned fumble. To his credit, he caught one of the decisive first downs, though it was an uncontested grab.

It’s fair to say that the Steelers haven’t always put him to good use conceptually, but Johnson’s game doesn’t require the team to look for ways to get him more involved. A talented receiver, he is prone to major slumps and routine bad plays. Pittsburgh’s receivers offered almost nothing on offense today. George Pickens certainly vented his frustrations down the sidelines, holding on for two yards with one catch on just two targets.

Second half running defense: Similar but worse than Monday’s game against the Colts, the Steelers’ defense waned in the second half. They lost the offensive point, made no splash plays on early downs to force Atlanta away from their run game, and the Falcons stayed on target with lane after lane to run on. Doesn’t fall on one person but on the whole group and they stumble to the finish.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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