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Minkah Fitzpatrick interception seals Steelers 19-16 victory over Falcons

The Falcons are more alive than the Steelers ahead of their showdown in Atlanta because the current records in the AFC South, but Chris Simms and Mike Florio believe the game is a better matchup for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers and Falcons played each other rightly for most of Sunday’s game, but when the Steelers most needed a play at the end of the game, they got one from their star safety.

Up 19-16, the Steelers took the clock down from 5:27 to 42 seconds with a four-minute drive. Pittsburgh then downed a punt at Atlanta’s 2-yard line, setting up a challenging situation, given that the Falcons had no remaining timeouts.

But on the first play, quarterback Marcus Mariota’s pass was picked off by Minkah Fitzpatrick to effectively end the game. Fitzpatrick read the play well and cut off the pass before it could get to receiver Drake London.

The Steelers had significant offensive success, especially throughout the first half. But the team had a hard time punching drives into the end zone. Pittsburgh scored on its first four possessions in the first half before running out the clock on its fifth.

Then Pittsburgh scored a field goal on its first drive of the second half to build a 19-6 lead.

The Falcons started their comeback with a 7-yard touchdown from Mariota to receiver MyCole Pruitt late in the third quarter. Then they got a 28-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo to make the score 19-16. But the club couldn’t get the needed defensive stop on Pittsburgh’s ensuing drive to have a realistic shot at scoring.

Kenny Pickett finished the game 16-of-28 passing for 197 yards with a touchdown. The Steelers rushed for 154 yards on 37 carries, with Najee Harris leading the way with 86 yards 17 carries.

Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota finished 13-of-24 for 167 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Now at 5-7, the Steelers will host the Ravens next Sunday for what becomes an even more intriguing matchup.

At 5-8, the Falcons will have their bye in Week 13.