clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers Report Card: Grading the tie with the Browns which feels more like a letdown

New, comments

BTSC grades the Steelers’ Week-1 performance (or lack thereof) against the Browns.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Central was at a fever pitch leading up to the way-wet season opener in Cleveland, however the fever became Dengue-ish by the final buzzer. Granted, I predicted a loss in this one, so I shouldn’t be too surprised, but maybe I was taken in too much by HBO’s Hard Knocks. I also didn’t expect to see six turnovers and a missed field goal. Once again, 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

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Offense Grade: D

There’s a good reason why Tom Brady plays considerably during the preseason. In retrospect, fears most definitely were lived in too much for the Steelers. Fifteen days ago, Ben Roethlisberger didn’t knock enough rust off in less than two quarters on the field. He was all over the place in Cleveland and forced the ball to Antonio Brown way too much, when JuJu Smith-Schuster was frequently open. Granted, his line did him very few favors. Maurkice Pouncey had two bad snaps. Along with Marcus Gilbert, No. 53 committed costly penalties that negated scores. AB had a good stat line with nine grabs, 93 yards and a TD. However, he seemed “off” as well. The bright spots were James Conner (192 total yards and two TDs) and Smith-Schuster (119 yards on five catches), Conner’s fumble was crucial, but he still ran hard and played well.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers Offense in the 21-21 tie with the Browns?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    B
    (31 votes)
  • 28%
    C
    (413 votes)
  • 43%
    D
    (630 votes)
  • 24%
    F
    (352 votes)
1435 votes total Vote Now

Defense

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Defense Grade: B-

I thought the defense played admirably. Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward were super strong with their penetration up front and the ILBs, Jon Bostic (7 tackles) and Vince Williams (12 tackles) were omnipresent. The side-swap of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree paid dividends as they too were everywhere with five sacks (Watt with 4) combined. The secondary performed well for the most part. Sean Davis was forceful and dominating at times, while Mike Hilton and Joe Haden (before the hamstring injury) were solid. Artie Burns continues to take dumb and costly penalties. He can’t do that. Cam Sutton had an interception, but was beaten for big plays by Josh Gordon and Rashard Higgins.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers Defense in the 21-21 tie with the Browns?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    A
    (201 votes)
  • 55%
    B
    (769 votes)
  • 23%
    C
    (323 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (54 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (37 votes)
1384 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Special Teams Grade: C-

First off, both sides of the return game were decent throughout the day. Tyler Matakevich proved his value with a solid “Dirty Red” day and Ryan Switzer (11.2 and 23.0 average on punt and kick returns respectively) had quality returns unlike what we’ve seen lately. The problem was both guys’ kicking. I realize weather was a factor, but No. 4 and No. 9 still don’t get a pass. Jordan Berry did pin the Browns inside the 20 three times, but his awful shanks on three other kicks led to good Cleveland field position. Boswell’s miss can’t be overlooked as well, but Watt saved the day with his block to secure the tie.

Poll

What grade do you give the Steelers Special Teams unit in their 21-21 tie with the Browns?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (13 votes)
  • 14%
    B
    (173 votes)
  • 40%
    C
    (484 votes)
  • 30%
    D
    (367 votes)
  • 12%
    F
    (153 votes)
1190 votes total Vote Now

Overall Team Grade: D

The team took too long to get going and disappointed on a day in which they could’ve and should’ve still dominated despite the weather and poor officiating. Any other opponent and this most likely was a loss. They’re damned lucky it wasn’t, although it sure feels like one.

Valedictorian: T.J. Watt

Honor Roll: James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vince Williams, Jon Bostic, Sean Davis, Tyler Matakevich, Ryan Switzer

Detention: Ben Roethlisberger, Alejandro Villanueva, Marcus Gilbert, Maurkice Pouncey, Cam Sutton, Artie Burns, Chris Boswell, Jordan Berry, Officiating, Tropical Storm Gordon

Poll

What overall grade do you give the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 21-21 tie with the Browns?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (13 votes)
  • 19%
    C
    (242 votes)
  • 49%
    D
    (601 votes)
  • 29%
    F
    (354 votes)
1217 votes total Vote Now