As often is the case after a loss, it's more about who did not play well as opposed to who did.
Pro Football Focus gave a team-high +3.1 grade to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, and a +1.8 given to Emmanuel Sanders led the offenese.
Left tackle Mike Adams was given a career-low -5.1 in the loss, the lowest rating of any player in the game. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was given a -4.6, which only seems a little less correct than the -1.9 grade they gave cornerback Ike Taylor (with a -2.0 in pass coverage).
Taylor, covering A.J. Green the vast majority of the night, was targeted 14 times, giving up seven receptions for 53 yards (3.8 yards per attempt), 15 yards after the catch and no touchdowns. Timmons was targeted four times, allowing completions on all four, 40 yards after the catch and a touchdown. He had a +0.1 in coverage.
Someone may have to explain how that works.
Oddly, Kion Wilson was given a -1.8 overall, most of it stemming from blown pass coverage, which appeared much worse than that, and rookie Vince Williams a -1.0 overall, with a positive run defense grade. It's possible Timmons was really at fault for a lot, but it certainly seemed like Wilson and Williams missed quite a bit in this game.
We ripped tight end David Paulson quite a bit after this game, and PFF gave him a -1.4 overall, with a -0.9 in run blocking. I'd be interested to hear how that is explained, but it seems likely they gave blame to Adams more often than Paulson.
Either way, the numbers seem to generally reflect the team moreso than the players, but I haven't given the game a thorough second viewing. The 20-10 stat still stands out as the important one, and clearly, the Steelers didn't play well enough to change that.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers vs. Bengals Postgame news updates and info
- Steelers recent trends becoming alarming
- Bears vs. Steelers: Heath Miller to practice fully this week
- Le'Veon Bell will do individual drills this week
- Grading the Steelers' new starters in Week 2
- Steelers 27th in recent power rankings
- Cotchery has 47 snaps to Wheaton's 5
- Heyward coming alive for Steelers defense
- Twitter reaction to Steelers loss to Bengals
- Power has gone out of the Steelers defense
- Steelers offense ranks among bottom-feeders statistically