The Steelers improved to 2-0 with a nice 26-9 victory over the Vikings of Minnesota Sunday. As always, the faculty and staff at BTSC take a red pen to the effort. So stick here to see our grades because there definitely are more smiley-face stickers than the dreaded red X.
The game plan seemed much more inspired than last week. Mike Zimmer defenses play the Steelers tough, but Todd Haley and the Steelers responded. Stats are jaded here due to the 70-plus pass interference yards that likely would have been catches and thus included in the stats for AB, Big Ben and Martavis. I thought AB played a decent game against Pro Bowler Xavier Rhodes, and I found Le’Veon Bell to be very close to finding his true self. Wrinkles still need ironed out but Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers played a nice game with six scoring drives. Scoring only two touchdowns, though, keeps this from being a higher A.
Valedictorian: Martavis Bryant
Honor Roll: JuJu Smith Schuster, Todd Haley, Ben Roethlisberger
The defense gave up a touchdown and a field goal. True there was no Sam Bradford on the field for Mike Zimmer's crew and this wasn't an A+ performance...but the pressure was there, the coverage was there and the hits were there. Cam Heyward is the true field general of this unit and Ryan Shazier is his colonel. Bud Dupree's presence was a glaring plus, T.J. Watt (though he didn't play even a full half) isn’t a 1-game wonder and Tyson Alualu understudied for Stephon Tuitt quite well. The team played with much more discipline than a week ago. This wasn't a shutout and it was a backup quarterback, but the defense played inspired. I'll take holding a team to nine points most weeks of the season.
Valedictorian: Cameron Heyward
Honor Roll: Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier, Mike Mitchell, Mike Hilton, Vince Williams
Special Teams: B-
Coverage was good once again and Boswell capped drives with points four times. However, the return game was just okay and Jordan Berry has punted better. But this unit was still more of a plus than a minus.
Honor Roll: Chris Boswell, Danny Smith Jr. and Tyler Matakevich
Detention: Jordan Berry
This wasn't a perfect game, but the result was pretty one-sided and was never really in doubt. The level of discipline was much improved. Overall, there’s room to improve, but it definitely was a pretty solid effort. I like the direction this team is headed and I feel this letter grade reflects that.