Roethlisberger helps Steelers beat Falcons 27-20
ATLANTA (AP) Playing in the NFL's only division with no losing records, the Pittsburgh Steelers added another win to their resume.
The Atlanta Falcons lost again, but still have a shot in the league's only division with no winning teams.
William Gay returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown for the Steelers (9-5), who remained a half-game behind Cincinnati in the AFC North.
The Falcons (5-9) fell out of a first-place tie in the NFC South but would win the division by beating New Orleans and Carolina the next two weeks.
''This was a big win against a division leader,'' Gay said. ''That's something that you try to get in December football.''
Bell was limited to 47 yards rushing on 20 carries by an Atlanta defense that focused on stopping the run.
''They did a good job of neutralizing our running game, although we were able to run it in crucial moments, short yardage and goal line,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
The Falcons have a must-win game next week at New Orleans.
''That is the situation that we are in,'' Atlanta cornerback Robert McClain said. ''Obviously, a win today would have put us in better shape but ... we have to get a win next week.''
Bell had five catches for 72 yards but was denied in his bid to become the first NFL player with 200 total yards in four straight games.
''It was tough sledding running the ball but that opened up other things,'' Bell said. ''They had a lot of guys up front, a lot of guys in the box.''
Bell's second touchdown run, a 13-yarder early in the fourth quarter, gave Pittsburgh a 27-13 lead.
The Falcons answered with Matt Ryan's 4-yard scoring pass to Roddy White but couldn't prevent the Steelers from running the final 4:34 off the clock. Pittsburgh converted twice on third down, the clincher coming on Roethlisberger's 25-yard pass to Heath Miller on third-and-1 from the Atlanta 39.
''Anytime you can finish the game with the ball in your hands and not let the other offense get on the field, that's the ideal situation,'' Miller said.
Here are some things to know after the Steelers improved to 5-3 on the road and the Falcons fell to 3-4 at home:
RING THE BELL: Bell's breakout performance has paid off with the Steelers' record for most total yards in a season.
Bell passed Barry Foster's mark of 2,034 yards from scrimmage in 1992. He began the day with 1,924 yards. He added 119 yards to lift his season total to 2,043.
Bell also set the team record for yards receiving by a Pittsburgh running back. He has 765 for the season. Ray Matthews had the old record with 762 in 1955.
REWRITING THE RECORDS: Roethlisberger has 4,415 yards passing, surpassing his previous franchise record of 4,328 in 2009. Antonio Brown had 10 receptions for 123 yards, giving him a franchise-record 115 catches for the year. Hines Ward had 112 receptions in 2002.
NO JULIO: Ryan completed 26 of 37 passes for 310 yards, even though he didn't have his top receiver. Julio Jones, who began the day on top of the NFL in yards receiving, was held out with a hip injury.
INJURIES: Steelers safety Mike Mitchell returned after leaving with a groin injury. Tomlin said the other injuries were only ''bumps and bruises.'' Falcons cornerback Josh Wilson was escorted to the locker room with a hand injury.
ROAD-FIELD ADVANTAGE: Steelers fans made up perhaps half of the crowd of 71,161. They showed up early and were waving their yellow towels before kickoff.
''I love and appreciate the support we get from our fans when we're on the road,'' Tomlin said. ''We're used to seeing it, but it never gets old.''
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