As Le'Veon Bell's preseason holdout heads into the third week of the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers got an extended glimpse at his potential replacement Sunday.
Suffice it to say Bell may want to get into camp soon.
James Conner rushed for 98 yards on 20 carries, as the Pittsburgh Steelers came from behind in the fourth quarter for a 17-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Heinz Field.
A third-round draft pick out of Pitt, Conner carried the ball three times for 22 yards on the Steelers' go-ahead drive, including a 17-yard scamper that put them deep in Atlanta territory. Bart Houston hit Justin Hunter on a six-yard touchdown pass to put the Steelers ahead for good.
Bell, who is perhaps the NFL's best all-around back when on the field, remains away from the team in Florida while holding out of camp. He is yet to sign his franchise tag, which makes the Steelers technically unable to punish him for his absence. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Bell is not expected back for the third week of the preseason.
Bell is in no danger of losing his job—he's an irreplaceable weapon as a runner and pass-catcher—but Conner is making a case for getting playing time in the regular season. It's possible we could see the Steelers split Bell out wide in the slot in certain packages with Conner in the backfield.
The other major news from the Steelers side was the return of Martavis Bryant to game action. Bryant, who missed all of 2016 due to a substance abuse violation, tied for a team high with 20 yards on two receptions. He also received one carry, which went for a loss of a yard.
"I'm definitely more appreciative," Bryant told reporters earlier in the week. "It has taken a lot of hard work to get back into it. I definitely won't take advantage of it anymore."
Rookie Josh Dobbs struggled for his second straight outing for Pittsburgh, throwing for just 70 yards and an interception on 10-of-19 passing. Dobbs has not done himself any favors if he hopes to unseat Landry Jones as the Steelers' primary backup.
Matt Simms spent most of the afternoon under center for the Falcons, throwing for 197 yards and an interception.
Steelers safety Jordan Dangerfield hauled in two picks as the game's top defensive performer.