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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ crucial 33-30 loss to the Chargers in Week 13

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after their return home against top-tier talent

Los Angeles Chargers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Steelers were held back last week in the Mile High City. This week they returned home and it’s time to see if they made the grade or if a letter is going home to their parents, Spoiler alert...they didn’t.

Despite my less than prestigious BTSC teaching certificate, I have to issue the necessary disclaimer. You know the story; of course, I’m not a football coach, or a teacher, but I play one in blogs and podcasts. All week, I found myself noticing just how equal the two teams actually are and that shows in their respective records. And then I realized that these teams both usually battle fiercely in tight contests. Then the game happened and judgments followed.

Grading games is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what count the most, the media and fans can’t help but evaluate as well.

So let’s take a look at BTSC’s early perceptions:

Offense:

James Conner didn’t go over 100 yards, but so think you need to put his game in perspective. He had a big run called back, but he protected the ball well and ran hard. Plus two TDs are nothing to sneeze at. He averaged 4.0 ypc on only 15 carries. But even worse, he looks like he’s going to miss some significant time. What more can you say about Antonio Brown? His line of 10 catches for 154 yards and a TD was so valuable. Ben Roethlisberger threw an ugly pick again. But he also threw some great balls to set up all four scores. But in the end, he couldn’t put a team away when he really should have.

Overall Offense Grade: C-

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers offense after their losing performance against Los Angeles?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (11 votes)
  • 17%
    B
    (152 votes)
  • 44%
    C
    (396 votes)
  • 30%
    D
    (265 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (59 votes)
883 votes total Vote Now

Defense

The defense was impressive in the first half. They only gave up 2 yards rushing the first 30 minutes. Everybody seemed sharp. The first score was a blatant miss by the officials. The second was a fluke deflection. The Steelers found a way to stop Austin Ekeler. But they couldn’t stop the rookie Justin Jackson. In the end, their inefficiencies in the secondary (and defensively overall) killed them. Kennan Allen destroyed this team. But when you continuously can’t get off of the field, you defeat yourself.

Overall Defense Grade: F

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers defense after their 33-30 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (15 votes)
  • 10%
    C
    (97 votes)
  • 39%
    D
    (354 votes)
  • 47%
    F
    (424 votes)
899 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams

The missed extra point was terrible. The continued penalties on returns were inexcusable. The TD return by Desmond King was reprehensible. last week’s unit wasn’t that bad. I feel like Danny Smith’s unit has regressed from last week. However, Jordan Berry is punting so much better and L.J Fort’s block was pleasing.

Overall Special Teams Grade: D-

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers special teams after their 33-30 defeat at the hands of the Chargers?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (9 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (56 votes)
  • 23%
    D
    (205 votes)
  • 67%
    F
    (576 votes)
855 votes total Vote Now

This was another contest that they should have won. Despite the horrible officiating, they had multiple opportunities to close out this team and failed.

Overall Team Grade: F

Poll

What overall grade would you assign the Steelers after their collapse against the Chargers of Los Angeles?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (8 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (69 votes)
  • 39%
    D
    (339 votes)
  • 50%
    F
    (430 votes)
855 votes total Vote Now

Valedictorian: Antonio Brown

Honor Roll: Offensive Line, James Conner, LJ Fort, Javon Hargrave, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Berry

Detention: Ben Roethlisberger, Sean Davis, Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Chris Boswell, Danny Smith Jr