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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 15 game vs. the Bills at Heinz Field

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after a Week 15 hosting of the Bills.

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Steelers quest for a winning season and a playoff berth was put to the test as Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills shuffled into town for a crucial Week 15 matchup. A win would have the Steelers mightily close to clinching the fifth spot. The game was moved to Prime Time. Would the Steelers prove to be ready and worthy for a close up?

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 thick-headed opinion.

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


Offense: F

Duck and the Steelers offense were pretty bad the first half. Hodges was 5/11 for 43 yards, 34 of those went on one pass to James Washington. They had more negative plays than positive in the first half. But nothing clicked at all. The play calling was horrendous and they squandered a 1st and Goal on the 10 at the end of the half with a Wildcat turnover. Everything was generic. The line was suspect and Maurkice Pouncey looks off. Plus, they gave up four sacks. In the second half, No. 6 killed them. Four interceptions? That’s just not going to do it. The Steelers’ rushing attack was dreadful too. 51 yards on the ground is just unacceptable. This game was winnable and the offense squandered it.

Poll

How would you rate the Steelers "O" after their poor performance against the Bills?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (19 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (86 votes)
  • 18%
    D
    (660 votes)
  • 78%
    F
    (2846 votes)
3643 votes total Vote Now

Defense: B-

Sure the Steelers defense gave up 17 points to the Bills. But they kept them in the game and ten points were due to special teams and offensive ineptitude. However, they only got one sack and played loose in the secondary on first down in the first half. Also, the TD they gave up to Tyler Kroft on third down should have been avoided.

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers’ defense after the loss to the Bills?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    A
    (541 votes)
  • 52%
    B
    (1776 votes)
  • 27%
    C
    (945 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (114 votes)
3376 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams: D+

Jordan Berry had a horrible punt of only 22 yards that led to Buffalo’s first score. His 43.0 average was one of his poorest of the year. Boswell was good on the 49-yarder, but Kerrith Whyte and Diontae Johnson were merely okay.

Poll

What grade did the ST Unit earn after their Week 15 loss to the Bills.

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (50 votes)
  • 25%
    C
    (794 votes)
  • 40%
    D
    (1225 votes)
  • 31%
    F
    (972 votes)
3061 votes total Vote Now

Overall: C-

When you hold a team to 17 points, you should be able to win that game. The defense gave them every opportunity to win, but the offense and predictable play calling was why they blew it. They still hold the number six seed, but they can’t have another game like this. Definitely a missed opportunity in a game they could have won.

Poll

What overall grade is most appropriate after the Steelers and the Bills?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (25 votes)
  • 24%
    C
    (756 votes)
  • 61%
    D
    (1853 votes)
  • 12%
    F
    (368 votes)
3025 votes total Vote Now

Valedictorian: Cameron Heyward

Honor Roll: T.J. Watt, James Washington, Devin Bush

Requires Improvement: Maurkice Pouncey, Devlin Hodges, James Conner, Terrell Edmunds, 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.