The Pittsburgh Steelers completed a flawless preseason by thoroughly dominating the Atlanta Falcons. In an emphatic victory, the Pittsburgh Steelers showcased their superiority over the Atlanta Falcons, securing an unblemished preseason record with a commanding 24-0 win at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Right from the outset, the Pittsburgh Steelers established their supremacy over the Atlanta Falcons, who had opted to rest their key players. The Falcons won the coin toss and decided to defer, enabling Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ starting offense to take the field first.
Faced with a demanding third-and-five situation deep in their own territory, the Steelers executed an exceptional play. Pickett delivered a precise 33-yard pass to Diontae Johnson along the sidelines. Consecutive runs by Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren covered 18 yards before Pickett connected with George Pickens for an impressive 35-yard catch along the sideline. The series culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Harris, putting the Steelers ahead 7-0.
The Falcons’ initial drive faltered, resulting in an 11-yard loss due to a tackle for loss by Elandon Roberts and a sack by T.J. Watt on Taylor Heinicke.
Sustaining their momentum, the Steelers embarked on their second drive with precision. Calvin Austin’s 21-yard punt return provided them with advantageous field position inside the 30-yard line. Soon after, Warren powered into the endzone for another touchdown. Although the Falcons gained yardage on their second drive, it was primarily due to a penalty incurred by the Steelers. Nonetheless, the possession ended swiftly with a punt. Subsequently, Mitch Trubisky took over for Kenny Pickett.
Trubisky’s initial pass found Connor Heyward for a 16-yard gain, and McFarland managed a 31-yard rush on the left side of the offensive line. Despite their relentless efforts, the Steelers’ substantial gains diminished, resulting in a 38-yard field goal by Chris Boswell. Holding a commanding 17-0 lead, the Steelers introduced more substitutes into the game. Rookies Keeanu Benton and Markus Golden made contributions with a tackle for loss and a batted pass, respectively, leading to another Atlanta punt. Keanu Neal and Kwon Alexander also made notable tackles.
The ensuing Steelers possession showcased a methodical approach, relying on McFarland’s effective rushing. A holding penalty on Natrone Brooks facilitated their progress beyond midfield. Gunner Olszewski drew a pass interference call, placing the ball on the five-yard line with a fresh set of downs. In just one play, McFarland secured another touchdown, expanding the lead to 24-0.
Trailing by 24 points, the Falcons managed a 26-yard gain as Keilahn Harris prevailed over Mark Robinson for a significant reception. However, a sack by Elandon Roberts and a false start penalty pushed the Falcons back to second-and-24, an insurmountable deficit.
The Steelers embarked on a promising drive, as Trubisky’s 24-yard rush propelled them past midfield. Nevertheless, the drive faltered due to an incompletion and a subsequent sack. Pressley Harvin, called upon for his first punt of the day with 1:22 left in the first half, impressively pinned the Falcons at their three-yard line, aided by Dez Fitzpatrick.
As the second half commenced, the Falcons received the ball, and Nick Herbig swiftly introduced himself to the new quarterback, Logan Woodside, with a six-yard sack. Despite this setback, Woodside completed his first five passes for a total of 48 yards, aided by a roughness penalty on Trenton Thompson. This progress led the Falcons into the red zone for the first time in the game.
However, on their second attempt within scoring distance, Mark Robinson and Joey Porter collaborated to force a fumble from Carlos Washington. Kenny Robinson recovered the ball, preserving the Steelers’ shutout. Following the turnover, Mason Rudolph entered the game, leading the Pittsburgh third-string offense. Rookie Xavien Valladay, recently signed to the team, rushed for 21 yards on five carries before the Steelers were compelled to punt once again.
Braeden Mann executed his first punt of the game, delivering a 58-yard kick that pinned the Falcons within their own 15-yard line once more. Woodside continued as quarterback, completing a 19-yard pass to Keilahn Harris for a pivotal first down. Nevertheless, the Steelers thwarted Atlanta’s efforts, setting up a third-and-12 situation. Woodside showcased athleticism with a creative pitch to his fullback, evading Armon Watts’ grasp, but fell short of a new set of downs.
Taking control at their 22-yard line, the Steelers successfully converted a fourth-and-one scenario, extending their short drive. Rudolph then evaded the pocket on a third-and-15, connecting with Dan Chisnea for 16 yards. A facemask penalty added 15 more yards to the gain. Despite their efforts, the Steelers eventually punted due to Rudolph’s misfire to Chisnea on third down. Harvin’s punt once again pinned the Falcons within their own 10-yard line, initiating a fresh drive.
Woodside guided the Falcons through another extensive drive, which ultimately yielded no points. Similarly, the Steelers gained a mere four yards on their subsequent possession, resulting in another punt. Mann excelled once more, placing the ball inside the Atlanta 20-yard line with 6:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Carlos Washington aimed for a first down, but Toby Ndukwe intervened with a three-yard tackle for loss. The Steelers’ first special teams error occurred with 3:16 left in the fourth quarter, as B.T. Potter missed a 43-yard field goal attempt to the left. However, the Steelers promptly regained possession when Quincy Roche stripped Woodside of the ball, and Ndukwe recovered the fumble.
Utilizing Greg Bell and Darius Hagans in ball-handling duties, the Steelers adeptly ran down the clock to the two-minute warning. Tanner Morgan’s deep pass to Aron Cruickshank on fourth down proved futile, granting the Falcons possession once more. Woodside and the Falcons advanced to midfield, exhausting their final timeout by the 26-second mark. Nonetheless, Ndukwe’s sack and the ensuing run-off of 24 seconds solidified the Steelers’ flawless preseason record.