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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ late loss to the 49ers in Week 3

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BTSC breaks out the red pen and assigns grades to the Steelers after Week 3 of the 2019 season.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers had a chance for redemption after a tough start to 2019, but the offense did no favors to Mason Rudolph in his first start in the NFL and a slightly-improved defense couldn’t seem to keep San Francisco out of the end zone late in the game. Now at 0-3, the Steelers playoff hopes are dimming quickly.

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 found myself noticing just how equal in talent the two teams actually are and that will show. 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: D+

Mason Rudolph was not the worst thing on the field, his offensive line was. Alejandro Villanueva hardly blocked a soul. The running back position is killing this team. James Conner isn’t gaining yards and his fumble was a back-breaker. Vance McDonald’s injury hurt the cause as well. The receivers were getting open at times and had two big scores, but the offense really hindered this team as a whole. The game plan was generic and wasn’t imaginative enough for this team to win.

Poll

What grade do you think the offense deserves after the 28-26 loss to Seattle.

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (22 votes)
  • 13%
    C
    (261 votes)
  • 48%
    D
    (944 votes)
  • 36%
    F
    (702 votes)
1936 votes total Vote Now

Defense: C+

Five turnovers is a big step in the right direction. But they aren’t there yet. Minkah Fitzpatrick with a pick and a forced fumble payed immediate dividends. But the run defense was horrendous, Vince Williams being out is messing this team up bad. They got gashed and gassed. T.J. Watt had two big plays, then went missing. Mark Barron, with one tackle and a killer penalty on 3rd and 11, was really counter-productive to the cause. Steven Nelson wasn’t the shutdown corner that he was the first two games and Terrell Edmunds is becoming more and more of a liability.

Poll

What grade do you think the defense earned after the 49ers finished them in Week 3?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (45 votes)
  • 21%
    B
    (414 votes)
  • 32%
    C
    (616 votes)
  • 32%
    D
    (619 votes)
  • 10%
    F
    (195 votes)
1889 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams: B-

They didn’t do anything too horrible, but didn’t make much happen either. Field goals and two extra poitns and Jordan Berry averaged 52,3 yards-per-punt on six of them. Yay. But the return game remains invisible and nonexistent.

Poll

How do you grade the Steelers’ Special Teams after their loss to the Niners?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    A
    (66 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (627 votes)
  • 41%
    C
    (673 votes)
  • 10%
    D
    (175 votes)
  • 4%
    F
    (74 votes)
1615 votes total Vote Now

Overall: D

If Conner doesn’t fumble the ball, this team wins. Mark Barron doesn’t commit a stupid penalty, this team goes to OT or possibly wins. The Steelers seem to be breaking down at crucial times, and the playoffs are on life support. But they aren’t mathematically eliminated, so I’ll be back next week.

Poll

What overall grade would you give to the Steelers after the 24-20 loss against San Francisco..

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (8 votes)
  • 17%
    C
    (309 votes)
  • 51%
    D
    (920 votes)
  • 30%
    F
    (543 votes)
1791 votes total Vote Now

Valedictorian: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Honor Roll: Chris Boswell, Jordan Berry, Stephon Tuitt

Requires Improvement: Mason Rudolph

Detention: James Conner, Mark Barron, Terrell Edmunds, Al Villanueva


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