During the game, some perform well, while others fall short of the standard. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in. After the game, when the dust settles, we decipher who falls into which category.
This was such a strange game all around, the article is hardly as robust as it usually is, mainly because I found it difficult to pinpoint players who stood out as playing well and those who played poorly.
As always, feel free to comment on the list in the comment section below. Be part of the conversation!
Stat Line: 8 receptions, 130 yards, 2 TDs, 12 targets
Another wonderful performance by JuJu Smith-Schuster spoiled by a lousy outcome. At this point, who cares if he or Antonio Brown is considered the No. 1 — if the team isn’t winning it doesn’t matter. Nonetheless, Smith-Schuster has proven his rookie season was no fluke, and he is on the edge of super stardom in the NFL.
Stat Line: 25/29, 282 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 130.2 rating
Some might be shocked to see Roethlisberger in this category, but he didn’t lose the game, and if the head coach would have inserted him into the lineup sooner he most likely would have won them the game. Roethlisberger threw just 4 incomplete passes and looked as if he couldn’t be stopped when the game was on the line. A nice step in the right direction for No. 7.
Stat Line: 0/2 FGs, 3/3 XP
I am at a loss for a lot of aspects of this team after their current three game skid, but Boswell tops the list. I just can’t comprehend how a kicker goes from being so automatic, to downright awful in one offseason. Missing both field goals, and having an extra point bank in off the right upright is about as ugly as it gets. Wouldn’t be shocked if the Steelers at the $4.5 million and cut ties with Boswell.
Stat Line: Awful pass defense
I hate to pinpoint just one person in the secondary, but Morgan Burnett hasn’t been anything close to what he was advertised coming in this season. Well, I take that back...he has been often injured and that was a cut on him when Green Bay allowed him to test free agent waters. Burnett got burnt by anyone running his direction, and his swing-and-miss on the deep pass from Derek Carr on their go-ahead score just highlighted how inept Burnett has been this season.
Mike Tomlin/Coaching Staff
Stat Line: Not sure hot to describe what we all saw
Fans want the entire coaching staff gutted. That won’t happen, but this stretch of games certainly has an “unleash hell in December” type of feel to it, doesn’t it? Tomlin learned from that situation and doesn’t make such bold statements anymore, but this ranks near the top of the list.
Oh, and Tomlin’s explanation for Josh Dobbs staying in the game because the team was in a good ‘flow’. Yeah...about that:
Roethlisberger's 6 drives in OAK:— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) December 10, 2018
Punt (3rd down drop)
Dobbs' 4 drives:
Downs (failed completion)
Throw in the defensive failures and this team is a disaster from top to bottom.
Defensive Backs’ Ball Skills
Stat Line: Group reaching new lows in this department
I’ve never seen a group of individuals fail to just put their hands on the football. Forget catching it, just getting in the way of the football. Joe Haden, Morgan Burnett, Terrell Edmunds, Sean Davis and Mike Hilton all had their hands on or near the football and all failed to make the appropriate play. When you are talking about defensive turnovers, you have to be able to take advantage of your opportunities...the Steelers haven’t done that at all this season.
Stat Line: 4/9, 24 yards, O TD, 1 INT
Remember the Baltimore game when Dobbs came in and threw a first down dart to Smith-Schuster? Everyone thought the future was bright for the young man. Those were the days, right? Dobbs didn’t look comfortable at all on Sunday, and further proved this team is in for some transition seasons after Roethlisberger decides to call it a career.
Stat Line: Allowed 2 fourth down conversions, and 3/4 in red-zone trips for OAK
The Steelers’ defense wasn’t awful yesterday for the entire game, but when they needed them the most, they failed. Fourth downs and the red-zone were just atrocious, and it goes from scheme on down to the play of the players. Keith Butler should take a lot of heat, and blame, for the loss, but the players shouldn’t be let off the hook either.