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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ victory over the winless Bengals in Week 12

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after Week 12 of the 2019 season.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers had an opportunity to go a game above .500 again with a contest against an 0-10 team, the Cincinnati Bengals. Well, we know how they fared. The question now is where each unit grades out.

For some reason, I’ve been given the responsibility to rate the performance of the squad. It’s not easy, but I’ll give it a whirl. 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 had certain expectations of this contest, then the game happened and judgments abound.

Grading games is an extremely difficult and somewhat thankless task. While the coaches’ grades, of course, are what counts the most, the media and fans can’t help but evaluate as well. All letter grades are simply based on the eye test of somebody watching at home. In this case, it’s my doofus opinion.

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


Offense: C

Mason Rudolph regressed way too much. His 8/16 for 85 yards and an interception (in a little over a half) was brutal to watch. While I don’t think his offensive line helped him out too much, he was way too stationary, held on to the ball way too long and tried too hard not to make mistakes. It was really starting to get depressing, but the Steelers did what I never expected them to do and that was replace Rudolph with Duck Hodges. Hodges, 5/11 for 118 yards, wasn’t spectacular. However, he had more poise and got the win. Back to the line, I feel Alejandro Villanueva is struggling, Carlos Dunlap terrorized him. But the unit, without Maurkice Pouncey, kept it together enough and started to open holes in the running game. Bennie Snell Jr. was huge down the stretch with 98 yards, while Kerrith Whyte looked pretty special as well with 7.2 ypc. As far as the pass catchers go, Vance McDonald has completely disappeared. But the young receiver, led by James Washington, were valuable in victory.

Poll

What grade do you think the offense deserves after the win over Cincy?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    B
    (57 votes)
  • 35%
    C
    (659 votes)
  • 55%
    D
    (1045 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (110 votes)
1876 votes total Vote Now

Defense: A-

Cam Heyward was an absolute beast, Steven Nelson and Joe Haden locked down the Cincy receivers for the most part, while T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree anchored the front seven. But it was Dupree who helped ice the game with the sack and recovery, However Devin Bush’s athletic forced fumble led to a Minkah Fitzpatrick recovery that halted a possible go ahead Cincy parade to the end zone in the 4th Quarter. That may have been the biggest key to victory.

Poll

What grade would you assign the defense after the 16-10 win over the Bengals?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    A
    (1140 votes)
  • 34%
    B
    (646 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (63 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (5 votes)
1866 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams: B-

Boswell seems like money in the bank at this juncture, there was no doubt with his three crucial field goals. Jordan Berry was spectacular again by landing three of his seven kicks inside-the-20. The coverage game was okay, while Diontae Johnson and the return game looks like it at least seems to be trying.

Poll

What grade did the ST Unit earn after their Week 12 matchup with winless Cincinnati?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    A
    (374 votes)
  • 58%
    B
    (983 votes)
  • 17%
    C
    (287 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (26 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (12 votes)
1682 votes total Vote Now

Overall: C

Once again, it wasn’t pretty. But the defense led the way again and have assumed the identity as the true strength of the team. The team seems like it will give Devlin Hodges a true opportunity to take the starting job. Is well he does for the sixth-seeded Steelers will be the difference in getting to the postseason or being home again.

Valedictorian: Jordan Berry

Honor Roll: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Devin Bush Jr,, T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, Bud Dupree, Chris Boswell, Devlin Hodges, Kerrith Whyte, Deon Cain, Bennie Snell Jr., James Washington.

Requires Improvement: Mason Rudolph, Mike Hilton, Terrell Edmunds, Alejandro Villanueva, Vance McDonald, Jaylen Samuels

Poll

What overall grade is most appropriate after the Steelers snuggled to best the Bengals?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (8 votes)
  • 16%
    B
    (270 votes)
  • 65%
    C
    (1068 votes)
  • 16%
    D
    (274 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (10 votes)
1630 votes total Vote Now

Now it is your turn to play teacher. Use the polls and the comments section below. We can compare notes in the teachers lounge.