As the clock ticked down to all zeroes following the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21 loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, fans immediately began to analyze various aspects of the game, including quality play by some and dismal performances by others. This is where Pro Football Focus does their job. Although their evaluation system has its flaws, the overall grades given to individual players certainly can be viewed as indicative of a player's performance on any given game day.
For the Steelers, you can anticipate there were some not-so-great player grades following the loss and, on the offensive side of the ball, the poor grades centered around...well, the center. Cody Wallace received the worst grade (-5.5), not only on the offense, but on the entire team. It was run-blocking that was his downfall. He graded -3.9 in run- blocking, while grading only -1.2 in pass-blocking situations. Besides Wallace, Kelvin Beachum was the only Steeler offensive player in the red, with a -2.2 grade, and that was largely due to the penalties he drew.
The best offensive grade would go to none other than Ben Roethlisberger (+6.2), followed by DeAngelo Williams (+4.3), Antonio Brown (+4.8) and Ramon Foster (+4.0).
The defensive side of the football wasn't quite as pretty. It was chiefly a contest to see who was graded the worst of the 11 men who saw regular playing time. Cortez Allen and Lawrence Timmons tied for the dubious honor with a -4.1 rating. The other Steelers who graded in the red were Antwon Blake (-2.5) and Robert Golden (-1.5). Of the players who received positive grades, the highest for the defense was Mike Mitchell with a +2.0, followed by Steve McLendon (+1.5), Ryan Shazier (+1.4) and Daniel McCullers (+1.4).
As these grades indicate, not everything was bad for the Steelers in the loss, but those who were bad were really bad. The team will have 10 days to clean up its act and prepare to host the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST.