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3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down in Week 5 loss to Steelers

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons will need a Herculean effort and a miracle or two in order to salvage the 2018 season after losing 41-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Who’s up and who’s down in the loss?

Up

Mohamed Sanu

Sanu earns himself a spot here for galloping past multiple Steelers defenders on a 43-yard touchdown — his longest as a member of the Falcons. He finished the day with four receptions for 73 yards and the score. The solid performance comes a week after he posted his first 100-yard receiving game as a Falcon.

Austin Hooper

Hooper hauled in a career-high nine receptions against Pittsburgh, with eight of those coming in the first half. He looked to be primed for a huge day, but as you know, the wheels fell off the wagon for the Falcons in the second half.

Damonate Kazee

The second-year player notched another interception on an abysmal decision by Ben Roethlisberger to lay a ball up for grabs in the end zone at the end of the first half. Kazee now has an interception in back-to-back weeks.

Down

Ryan Schraeder

Atlanta’s right tackle gets the call out here, but the offensive line was dominated as a whole. Schraeder, however, was repeatedly bested by T.J. Watt as the Steelers linebacker racked up three sacks and forced a fumble on Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter that resulted in a scoop and score touchdown. Ryan was sacked a total of six times and pressured all afternoon.

Duke Riley

Riley has been in the spotlight all season for his noticeable struggles, and his outing Sunday probably didn’t change any critics’ minds. His missed his share of tackles, but he certainly wasn’t alone on that front as the Falcons defense struggled to wrap up across the board.

Pass rush

Roethlisberger was unbothered for much of the afternoon as Atlanta generated virtually no pressure on the quarterback. Frankly, Roethlisberger should’ve piled up gaudy numbers since his offensive line held the Falcons at bay.