The Ugly: James Pierre
The Atlanta Falcons came out in the second half with a bit of fire under their wings offensively. Logan Woodside drove the Falcons into the red zone primarily by finding his receivers in the area of James Pierre.
Pierre has been with the Steelers for several seasons, and while he's had spurts of solid play when called upon, his lack of consistency is precisely why he finds himself playing snaps late in preseason games. That lack of consistency was on full display Thursday night.
Pierre allowed too much space on his coverage targets and paid the price in the third quarter particularly. He allowed three straight receptions by Falcons receivers on the 12-play drive that eventually ended in a fumble: 13 yards by Matthew Sexton, nine yards by J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and 11 yards by Sexton.
He followed that up a few plays later by losing track of the football as he took himself out of the play as Carlos Washington Jr. caught a dump-off pass that resulted in an 11-yard catch and run which got the Falcons into the red zone with assistance from a questionable personal foul.
Pierre is on the chopping block in the cornerback room. His experience both on defense and special teams could very well preserve a roster spot. Still, there's plenty of reason displayed in this game and over the course of his career that would suggest that if Pierre is worth keeping on the final 53, the Steelers may need to look for an upgrade to preserve quality depth in the defensive backfield.