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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ win over the Colts in Week 9

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after Week 9 of the 2019 season.

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers were 1-4 and on the verge of early elimination. After beating three teams with a combined three wins, the surprising Indianapolis Colts came to town with a 5-2 record. The Steelers would need an inspired effort, and a lot of luck, to defeat the visitors and reach .500.

They got both.

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-

The game plan is so inconsistent. Mason Rudolph threw one pick, it really wasn’t his fault. JuJu Smith-Schuster should have made the catch. However, No. 2 was far from good. Rudolph’s stat line was 26/35, 191 yards, and a TD pass to go with the aforementioned interception. He gets the win and he was a part of it, but he was fairly inept in the Red Zone and could have avoided the safety. They need to score more if this streak should continue and Mason needs to engineer the scoring. JuJu Smith-Schuster (16 yards) and Diontae Johnson (3 yards) were largely invisible. James Washington (4/69) and Vance McDonald (5/30/1 TD) led the way. Also with a huge contribution in the passing game was Jaylen Samuels (13/73), but No. 38 was dreadful in the running game by gaining a mere ten yards on eight carries. Trey Edmunds led the ground attack (12/77) by averaging 6.1 ypc, but that stat was aided by an early 45-yard run. The offensive line was just okay. They need to be much better next week.

Poll

What grade do you think the offense deserves after the 26-24 win over Indy.

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (8 votes)
  • 9%
    B
    (194 votes)
  • 55%
    C
    (1175 votes)
  • 32%
    D
    (694 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (42 votes)
2113 votes total Vote Now

Defense: B-

This is a powerful defense now and they are going to have to carry the offense for the foreseeable future. But they had struggles against a second-string quarterback that was missing his center and leading wideout. The rush defense held the amazing Marlon Mack under 100 yards, but allowed Brian Hoyer to throw three TDs off the bench, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1970. Cameron Heyward stepped up as a defensive leader, while Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Steven Nelson led with great play as well. Minkah Fitzpatrick had some lapses on defense, but his pick-six was an absolute game changer. When they had to make big stops, they did though. Once again, this is the strength of the team.

Poll

What grade would you assign the defense after the thriller over the Colts?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    A
    (261 votes)
  • 63%
    B
    (1314 votes)
  • 22%
    C
    (470 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (34 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (6 votes)
2085 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams: B+

Berry didn’t have to punt more than the one 48-yarder, but he has been super solid in 2019. Boswell has remained clutch with four field goals, including a huge 51-yarder. The return game continues to be invisible, but a fumble recovery and a blocked extra point were giant.

Poll

What grade does the ST Unit deserve after the Steelers huge win over the Indianapolis Colts?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    A
    (869 votes)
  • 40%
    B
    (781 votes)
  • 10%
    C
    (209 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (55 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (13 votes)
1927 votes total Vote Now

Overall: B-

Definitely a lucky win, but they earned it. They do have to play much better on offense going forward. But they beat a quality team and are now the seventh seed in the AFC. The Rams will be a true test next week.

Poll

What overall grade would you mark the Steelers with after their 26-24 triumph over Indy?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (46 votes)
  • 47%
    B
    (876 votes)
  • 47%
    C
    (881 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (48 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (8 votes)
1859 votes total Vote Now

Valedictorian: Chris Boswell, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Bud Dupree

Honor Roll: Joe Haden, Trey Edmunds, T.J. Watt, James Washington, Vance McDonald, Jaylen Samuels (the receiver), Cam Heyward, Vince Williams, Steven Nelson

Requires Improvement: Mason Rudolph, Jaylen Samuels (the rusher), JuJu Smith-Schuster, Al Villanueva, Randy Fichtner


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