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Steelers deliver balanced effort in win over Falcons

The Pittsburgh Steelers remain in the thick of the AFC playoff race after a 27-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Our takeaways:

  1. Has it finally clicked for the Steelers? Pittsburgh has puzzled at times this season with flat showings that kept the team from building momentum. On Sunday, they delivered a strong overall performance on both sides of the ball, improving to 9-5 on the year. They'll win the AFC North if they can protect their home field over the next two weeks. The Falcons, now 5-9, remain in contention in the woeful NFC South.
  1. Le'Veon Bell finally looked mortal after three weeks of absurdly productive play. The second-year back found little daylight and was held to just 47 yards on 20 carries. He did score both of Pittsburgh's offensivetouchdowns, while adding 72 yards on five receptions.
  1. Officials got it wrong when they flagged Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds for unnecessary roughness on a sack of Matt Ryan in the second quarter. Worilds flattened Ryan on a clean hit that left the Falcons' quarterback shaken up. A flag was thrown for the hit, wiping out the sack and handing Atlanta a gift first down. The Falcons scored a touchdown three plays later. You can safely assume Mike Tomlin will be sending that tape to the league office.
  1. As expected, the Falcons' offense was considerably less explosive with Julio Jones out with a hip injury. Roddy White set the franchise record for touchdown receptions with a 4-yard score in the third quarter, but he has shown some signs of decline this season. Harry Douglas took advantage of more targets with a 10-catch, 131-yard day.
  1. Ben Roethlisberger didn't throw a touchdown pass, but don't be deceived by the box score. The Steelers' quarterback was excellent, throwing for over 300 yards with deadly accuracy. Roethlisberger is having another outstanding season.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from Week 15 and discusses all the playoff implications. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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