It wasn’t easy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off a 17-13 come from behind win over the Atlanta Falcons.
After a sloppy first quarter, the Steelers used a strong running game and some a strong defensive front to start their 2017 preseason 2-0. Despite trailing at halftime, some unsuspected backups came through with enough big plays to pull off a 17-13 win over Atlanta.
Even if it wasn’t pretty, the Steelers are still undefeated. But with sloppy games, there’s a lot to acknowledge. Fortunately, there was just as much positive as negative.
The Steelers pass defense is their Achilles heel.
Matt Ryan drove down the field against the Steelers defense despite nice plays in run defense by Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave and Tyler Matakevich.
Robert Golden got torched down the seam and showed that the Steelers were really missing Mike Mitchell. Maybe after Jordan Dangerfield’s two interceptions against lesser competition, he may get to start over Robert Golden even though Golden is a better fit as a free safety as opposed to Jordan Dangerfield’s preferred side as a strong safety. Ross Cockrell was also beat today. Memories of recent pass defense struggles were brought back today.
Tyler Matakevich is for real.
He is not the biggest or the fastest guy, but his instincts more than make up for it. He has earned the top backup job at both inside linebacker positions, and I think there is less pressure now to extend Vince Williams. He is a tackling machine. He also made plays at the beginning of the game against starters.
Roosevelt Nix is the special teams star.
He had two blocked kicks against the Falcons, and that was what got him on the team in the first place. He is a good, big-bodied special teamer. Now we need to talk about him being the special teams star.
Trey Williams is a contender for the punt return job.
He took one back for a touchdown, had a nice other return, and knew when to let it go into the end zone. The Steelers have been looking for someone to return punts for Antonio Brown. They may have found their guy in Trey Williams.
James Conner is a raw prospect.
He showed the ability to cut and get some long runs. He also looked bad on two passing attempts where he dropped the ball. He carried the load and ran roughly 100 yards on the day. There is some promise behind and likely after Le’Veon Bell.
The Steelers would love to see Bell back at practice. But for now, it’s safe to say that there’s hope in the backfield even without No. 26.