Tony Gonzalez made his 1,000 reception early in the third quarter and Roddy White set a career-high with 13 catches but neither was enough as the Falcons lost a defensive battle to the Steelers, 15-9 in overtime.
A game of back-and-forth field goals was ultimately decided by a touchdown when Rashard Mendenhall broke through the line and outran the defense on a 50-yard touchdown run to end it.
Matt Ryan’s and Dennis Dixon’s numbers were far too close as each threw for over 200 yards and one interception. The Falcons’ ground game could never get going and Michael Turner finished with 42 yards on 19 carries, a 2.2 average.
The defense showed what a difference a year makes with a terrific effort through four quarters of play. They sacked Dixon three times and had held Mendenhall to 3.3 yards per carry before his OT scamper.
The attention now turns to the Cardinals and the home opener on Sunday, September 19.
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