October 7, 2018 / 8:38 PM / 9 days ago

Steelers explode in 2nd half, drop Falcons to 1-4

James Conner ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns Sunday to help the Pittsburgh Steelers down the visiting Atlanta Falcons 41-17.

Conner also had four catches for 75 yards. Antonio Brown added six catches for 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger completed 19 of 29 passes for 250 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Matt Ryan went 26 of 38 for 285 yards and a touchdown for Atlanta, which was outscored 28-7 in the second half.

In a matchup of teams widely picked to be Super Bowl contenders, Pittsburgh (2-2-1) was the first to get to two wins. Atlanta fell to 1-4.

Conner leaped over the pile for a 1-yard touchdown to open the scoring. On an eight-play, 78-yard drive, he touched the ball eight times, six runs for 43 yards and a drive-defining 29-yard reception.

Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell’s extra point attempt was wide right, leaving it 6-0.

Roethlisberger’s 18-yard scoring pass on third down to JuJu Smith-Schuster capped an 11-play, 97-yard drive and gave the Steelers a 13-0 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

Ryan’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu, hit in stride as he was left uncovered, brought the Falcons to within 13-7 early in the second quarter.

Matt Bryant made it closer with a 47-yard field goal for Atlanta later in the quarter as the Falcons trailed just 13-10 at halftime.

In the third, the Steelers drove 85 yards in 12 plays with Roethlisberger hitting Brown on the right edge of the end zone for 9 yards and a 20-10 lead.

On Atlanta’s ensuing drive Roosevelt Nix blocked a punt by Atlanta’s Matt Bosher to set up Pittsburgh at the Atlanta 18. That led to Conner’s 2-yard scoring run to the right pylon to make it 27-10 with 1:39 left in the third.

Rookie Ito Smith’s 2-yard bolt up the middle pulled the Falcons to within 27-17 with 12:28 left in the fourth.

Pittsburgh came right back when Roethlisberger found Brown down the left sideline for a 47-yard touchdown and a 34-17 lead.

T.J. Watt stripped Ryan of the ball and L.J. Fort recovered it in the end zone with 3:35 left to make it 41-17.

—Field Level Media

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