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James Conner isn't much on talking

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MessagePosté le: Ven 9 Nov - 04:12 (2018)    Sujet du message: James Conner isn't much on talking Répondre en citant

Not about the cancer battle that threatened to sidetrack his promising career before he even reached the NFL. Not about his ongoing audition as the new featured running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers while Le'Veon Bell continues his extended sabbatical.Not even about his new role as an obstetrician in shoulder pads Atlanta Falcons T-Shirt , a side gig he picked up while helping teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster celebrate a touchdown during Pittsburgh's one-sided 41-17 victory over Atlanta on Sunday. Smith-Schuster feigned contractions while lying on the Heinz Field turf before Conner took the ball and placed it in the wide receiver's hands."I delivered a baby," Conner said with only a faint hint of a smile. "First time. I'm going to stick to football though."Considering how Conner looked while piling up 185 total yards and two touchdowns as the Steelers (2-2-1) restored some sanity to their uneven season, that's probably a good idea. Running often and with authority — two traits that defined his record-setting college career at Pittsburgh — Conner served as the offensive fulcrum Pittsburgh turned on while punishing the reeling Falcons (1-4)."James needed that," Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix said. "Our team needed that."Particularly after the way Pittsburgh looked in the second half of a loss to Baltimore the previous week, when the Steelers basically abandoned the idea of giving the ball to Conner entirely, even though the game was tied at the break.There was no such wavering this time. Conner had 99 total yards in the first quarter alone, including a 30-yard catch-and-run, and kept right on going. He ran for 110 yards on 21 carries and added 75 yards receiving. It was a performance that was reminiscent of the kind Bell has churned out with regularity before deciding to spend the first portion of this season staying away while waiting to sign his one-year franchise tender.Though Conner understands the desire to stack his play up against Bell's, he wants no part of it. He's just doing what he's asked to do. Against Atlanta it was give the offense some much-needed balance. The Steelers ran the ball 29 times and passed it 29 times while improving to 7-0-1 all-time at home versus the Falcons."I think the (offensive line) were tired of hearing all the, 'What's going on? We can't run it,'" quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "I think James was tired of hearing about Le'Veon so much, so he put on a heck of a performance today."The kind Conner and his teammates hope is repeatable."It's like back on track," Conner said. "It's playing Steelers football today."Some other takeaways as Pittsburgh sent Atlanta to its third straight loss.BASHED BIRDSThe Falcons are off to their worst start since 2013. While injuries on defense have played a significant factor, one of the main issues in Pittsburgh was an offensive line that couldn't protect Matt Ryan. The Steelers chased Ryan down six times, including a strip-sack by T.J. Watt with less than 4 minutes to go that ended with teammate LJ Fort falling on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown."Everybody knows our protection needs to be better than it's been," said Ryan, who completed 26 of 38 passes for 285 yards and a score. "The hardest part for players is having to watch that film and critically evaluate yourself. I think with the kind of guys that we have there's not going to be a whole lot that needs to be said."WI-FI CONNECTEDRoethlisberger and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown rediscovered the chemistry that's made them one of the most potent combinations in the NFL for the last five-plus years. Brown caught six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns and downplayed the notion there's been any sort of communication problem with his longtime teammate."All of my catches, all of my touchdowns are from him, and that's my guy," Brown said. "I live and die with him and the Wi-Fi was lit."SPECIAL ... AND NOT SO MUCHPittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell missed his third extra point of the season, matching his career total coming into 2018 Atlanta Falcons Hats , but the Steelers also produced a bright spot on special teams when Nix broke in and blocked a punt by Atlanta's Matt Bosher that set up Conner's second touchdown run."We feel like we're going to get one (blocked kick) every week," Nix said. "We rush hard, that's what we do. It just happened like that."UP NEXTFalcons: Welcome NFC South rival Tampa Bay next Sunday. The teams have split their last six meetings.Steelers: Visit AFC North-leading Cincinnati (4-1) next Sunday. Pittsburgh has won 9 of 10 against the Bengals.Falcons vs. Saints final score predictions: Will Atlanta triumph in a shootout? Eric Robinson Falcons 38, Saints 30 No Takk, no Devonta, no Debo, no Keanu. Spells trouble, right? It’s understandable if it does but when you account for the fact that the Saints are 29th in overall defense, 30th in points, and 29th in passing yards allowed, it’s easy to this as a great matchup for a Falcons offense that found a groove last week against a good Carolina defense. Two keys that are important in this matchup is which team can win on 3rd downs on defense and can the Falcons find offensive rhythm through Ridley, Sanu, Hooper, Coleman, and Smith once again. The Saints have lost four of their last six games in Atlanta. Cory WoodroofFalcons 38, Saints 34 I’m in line with Eric on the point totals, but I’m expecting far-more heartburn for this one. The Falcons might light it up on offense now that Steve Sarkisian is on a roll, and they really might have to if this defense plays like it did last week down the stretch against one of the all-time great comeback quarterbacks in Drew Brees. Losing Deion and Keanu and trying to stop Alvin Kamara is going to be a nightmarish feat, but I actually have faith that Atlanta’s secondary can maintain Michael Thomas and sell out in the front seven to slow Kamara as much as possible. This one should get plenty of fireworks in as long as our offense maintains pace. If Sark has a down week, Atlanta won’t win this. I’m betting he’ll find enough plays to outscore the Saints and build a nice, consistent streak to carry into that now-test against Cincinnati.Dave ChoateFalcons 30 Atlanta Falcons Womens Hoodie , Saints 24I have the Saints scoring less than 30 points, which seems ridiculous given the challenges the Falcons have been facing on defense with key players out. Yet it’s a Falcons-Saints game, where nothing goes as planned, and I feel pretty good about this prediction.The Saints just aren’t there yet. Their defense has regressed, but their offense is also shakier than it looks if you’re just glancing at the counting stats, given the way they felt way behind against Tampa Bay before making a comeback and stayed quiet until late against Cleveland. I think the Falcons, who have shown they can bedevil Drew Brees under Dan Quinn, will be able to do enough to hold this team in check, and I have a lot of confidence in the offense’s ability to put points on the board against the worst defense they’ve faced thus far.Anything can happen in a game like this, but the Falcons should be able to win this even with their pile of injuries. Matt ChambersFalcons 36, Saints 32I am very worried about the Falcons defense, but then again, the Saints haven’t looked much like competitors this season. With 3 of the team’s top 5 defensive players out for Sunday, the Falcons will need to score 27+ points to get the win. Against the Saints, they can definitely do that. These games usually end on the very last drive, and I sure as hell won’t be picking the Saints to pull out that W.Kyle McClendonFalcons 31, Saints 28This game SHOULD be a shootout due to the wealth of injuries on Atlanta’s defense and the overall mediocrity of the Saints’ defense. I think it is a high scoring game that comes down to who has the ball most and who has it last. The Falcons defense will have a tough time stopping the Saints, but I don’t think it will be any easier for the New Orleans defense against Matt Ryan and company. If Ryan is on his game again and the offensive line plays well, the Falcons will win a close one. If not, this one could hurt. I’m going to bank on Matt Bryant making a kick and Will Lutz missing one to give Atlanta the win in the first meeting between the two teams.

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