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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 16 loss to the Jets

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after a Week 16 contest in Jersey.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Steelers had a chance to inch closer to the postseason and their loss to the New York Jets was debilitating. Now they need to beat the nearly unbeatable Baltimore Ravens and hope Tennessee falls to Houston. The loss at MetLife nearly snuffed out the Steelers’ playoff life.

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 feeble opinion.

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


Offense: F

I am not blaming Randy Fichtner and the game plan this week. Injuries and ineptitude were the culprit. Duck Hodges and the Steelers offense were pretty bad the first half. Mason Rudolph was slightly better, but then got hurt. Hodges was 11/17 for 84 yards and two interceptions. Rudolph was 14/20 for 129 yards and a gorgeous touchdown throw to Diontae Johnson at the end of the half. Johnson was very good with eight grabs for 81 yards and that score, while James Washington had five catches for 41 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster was mostly anonymous. The offensive line were repeat offenders giving up four sacks and Maurkice Pouncey was suspect on snaps again. The running game by committee concept is not really working. Bennie Snell Jr. killed momentum with his 2.0 ypc. James Conner was running well, but another injury sidelined him. Injuries to Pouncey and Rudolph hurt a lot too. If the offense could score just a little more, they would have had a better chance. Instead, the Steelers are on the brink of elimination.

Poll

How would you rate the Steelers offense after their performance against the Jets?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (10 votes)
  • 15%
    D
    (176 votes)
  • 82%
    F
    (936 votes)
1128 votes total Vote Now

Defense: B

Sure the Steelers defense gave up 16 points to the Jets. But they kept them in most of the game. They could not get to Sam Darnold more than twice, but T.J.Watt and Bud Dupree did both get sacks. The defense limited Le’Veon Bell to under-100 yards total and a weak 2.9 ypc, but they still folded at crucial times to allow field goals. They were pretty good, but they needed to be great.

Poll

What grade would you assign the Steelers’ defense after the 16-10 defeat to the Jets?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    A
    (111 votes)
  • 50%
    B
    (549 votes)
  • 31%
    C
    (349 votes)
  • 5%
    D
    (61 votes)
  • 1%
    f
    (21 votes)
1091 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams: C-

Chris Boswell as always was pretty darned good. But I don’t know what happened to Jordan Berry. He was pretty bad once again. Nothing else was very special at all.

I’m not wasting time on a Special Teams poll.


Overall: D

When you hold a team to 16 points, you should be able to win that game. The defense gave them every opportunity to win, but the offense was beyond dreadful. This is not a playoff team. At this point, they are not going to get in.

Poll

What overall grade is most appropriate after the Steelers 16-10 loss to the Jets?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    C
    (76 votes)
  • 47%
    D
    (495 votes)
  • 44%
    F
    (470 votes)
1048 votes total Vote Now

Valedictorian: Diontae Johnson

Honor Roll: T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, James Washington, Mark Barron

Requires Improvement: Maurkice Pouncey, Devlin Hodges, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jordan Berry


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