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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers three-quarters through the 2020 season

The staff at BTSC gives grades for the Steelers upon the completion of three-quarters of their games

Pittsburgh Steelers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Some felt the 2020 NFL season would not make it this far and yet the the Pittsburgh Steelers have finished their first 12 games. The Steelers nearly reached the three-quarter point undefeated but ended up with an 11-1 record. But how are they performing as individual units? The staff at BTSC are throwing their grades on the Steelers offense, defense, special teams, and coaches as well as their overall performance.

Let’s see if BTSC judges the Steelers performance to date the same way…


Offense

Dave Schofield: C+
(previous: A-, B+)
The most important part of an NFL offense is scoring points, and over the last four games the point totals have fallen each week. Yes, two of the best defenses they face in 2020 were the last two games, but the offense needs to get going better than it has.

K.T. Smith: D+
(previous: A, B)
The Steelers have regressed from being a versatile offense that could do a little bit of everything to one completely reliant on three and four yard completions to sustain drives. That’s a problem. A big one.

Geoffrey Benedict: D-
(previous: B-, C+)
The Steelers offense is regressing. They abandoned the run, cut out almost everything Canada added, and now teams are solving Ben’s improvised plays. This offense has no identity and no vision.

Jeff Hartman: D
(previous: B, B+)
This quarter we saw almost everything that worked go away. Sounds about right. The jet sweeps are extinct, and the offense looks as out of sync as ever. Let’s just hope things turnaround in the final quarter, when it matters most.

Big Bro Scho: C+
(previous: B+, B)
This grade is only about the last four games. All of the motion, jet sweeps and misdirection from the beginning of the year have totally disappeared. The offense is so predictable right now that you can look at the formation and have a good idea what's coming, the WFT said they knew.

Shannon White: C
(previous: B, B-)
This grade reflects the third quarter of the season only. I was hoping for progression, but there was regression instead. Zero commitment to the running game and tons of dropped passes. Big Ben's numbers would be huge without the drops, some potential touchdowns.

Bryan Anthony Davis: C
(previous: A, A-)
They have big point potential, but that has gotten lost in the third quarter of 2020. Fix the drops and relocate the running game and we will be back in the A range.

Anthony Defeo: C-
(previous: B+, B)
Things are clearly trending in the wrong direction for this unit. If how an offense is functioning at the moment is all that matters, then the Steelers offense isn’t a very good one right now.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ offense after the first 12 games?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (6 votes)
  • 15%
    B
    (70 votes)
  • 50%
    C
    (227 votes)
  • 27%
    D
    (125 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (25 votes)
453 votes total Vote Now

Defense

Dave Schofield: A
(previous: B+, B+)
This is still the identity of this team, but the injuries piling up is the only reason for concern.

K.T. Smith: A
(previous: A-, A-)
This unit is bruised and battered and pulling way more than its own weight right now. They won’t be able to keep it up against better competition without some help from the offense.

Geoffrey Benedict: A+
(previous: A, A-)
It took 5 starters being out and multiple bad starting positions for this Steelers defense to give up more than 20 points. I don’t know how long they can continue to produce while losing key players, but this defense has been special.

Jeff Hartman: A
(previous: B+, B+)
Unlike the offense, the Steelers’ defense continues to be impressive despite losing key pieces of the puzzle. Will the loss of Bud Dupree linger into the final quarter? Only time will tell, but I have a feeling this defense isn’t going to slow down at all.

Big Bro Scho: A
(previous: B+, B+)
The defense has continued to do their part to win ball games. They even did enough against the WFT, but didn't get enough offensive help. Leading the league in many statistical categories and, in my opinion, they have the front runner for the DPOY award. Injuries are starting to pile up on this unit, so I hope they can keep their performance at least near where they have been up to this point.

Shannon White: B+
(previous: B-, B)
The Steelers defense has had to endure multiple starters rotating in and out of the lineup, and are still playing dominating defense for the most part. Fewer injuries would be nice.

Bryan Anthony Davis: A
(previous: C, A-)
The defense has been saddled with big time losses in personnel and are still fantastic. They are what’s keeping the light on in the Steel City.

Anthony Defeo: ) A
(previous: B, B-)
The defense might not be as healthy as it was earlier in the year, but the performance and results improved over the previous four games.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ defense after the first 12 games?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    A
    (298 votes)
  • 27%
    B
    (118 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (4 votes)
431 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams

Dave Schofield: B
(previous: A-, B+)
The punting is improved, the kicking is hanging in there, but the big returns and coverage stuffs aren’t what they were earlier in the season.

K.T. Smith: B
(previous: B+, A-)
They don’t stink. I guess that’s a compliment.

Geoffrey Benedict: B
(previous: B, B)
They played their best game of the season against the Jaguars, and then not so good the next two games. Overall they are roughly where they have been all season, an above average but not really good unit.

Jeff Hartman: B
(previous: A, B)
The special teams were outstanding to start the season, but Chris Boswell continues to miss extra points, and Jordan Berry is getting back to his inconsistent self. The key to special teams success is consistency, and the Steelers need more of that.

Big Bro Scho: B
(previous: A, A-)
They have been solid, but haven't been as good returning and defending the return.

Shannon White: B
(previous: A, B+)
Another area with some regression. Missed extra points, inconsistent punting, McCloud suddenly shaky on returns, and subpar blocking on returns leading to an increase in penalties that greatly impacts starting field position. Injuries felt on special teams also.

Bryan Anthony Davis: B
(previous: B+, B-)
They haven’t given up big returns much and none for scores. Plus, Ray Ray has big play potential mostly every time he touches the pig.

Anthony Defeo: A
(previous: A, A)
Chris Boswell has missed a few extra points, but that’s about the only problem I have with the entire unit.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ special teams after the first 12 games?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (31 votes)
  • 62%
    B
    (245 votes)
  • 26%
    C
    (105 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (5 votes)
393 votes total Vote Now

Coaching

Dave Schofield: B-
(previous: B-, B-)
I still think Tomlin is an A+, but the rest of the staff needs to get on par with the head man.

K.T. Smith: A-
(previous: A, A+)
Big props to Mike Tomlin for staying focused through the dysfunction the league has forced on the Steelers, and to the defensive staff for persevering through all the injuries. The offensive staff needs a new game-plan, however. Quickly.

Geoffrey Benedict: A
(previous: A, A++++)
People throw blame at the coaches when they don’t want to blame the players, or the situation is just untenable. We have both going on right now.

Jeff Hartman: A
(previous: A, A+)
11-1 is pretty outstanding, and although their look to be some kinks which need ironed out, I still have faith in this coaching staff moving forward and preparing for the playoffs. Yes, I know I’m in the minority.

Big Bro Scho: B+
(previous: B+, B+)
I wanted to up the grade due to getting through the mess the NFL threw at them. I couldn't up the grade due to the struggles the offense has been going through, so I just can't up the grade at all.

Shannon White: B
(previous: A, A-)
Mike Tomlin has went out of his way to say all the right things trying to keep his team focused during the scheduling craziness. Keith Butler has utilized his entire roster effectively out of necessity. Randy Fichtner leaves much to be desired at the moment.

Bryan Anthony Davis: A
(previous: A+, A+)
Mike Tomlin has done a masterful job. Still not loving the offensive game plan, but I’m not sure that’s all Randyland.

Anthony Defeo: A
(previous: A+, A+)
The team looks a bit worn out at the moment, but Monday’s loss, aside, I think Mike Tomlin has done a good job keeping his guys focused through some trying times.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ coaching after the first 12 games?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    A
    (102 votes)
  • 50%
    B
    (188 votes)
  • 16%
    C
    (62 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (12 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now

Overall

Dave Schofield: A
(previous: A, A)
One loss through 12 games. This is about all of the season thus far, not just the last game or two and what lies ahead.

K.T. Smith: A
(previous: A+, A+)
They’re 11-1 and in the driver’s seat for home field advantage in the AFC. That’s about all you can ask for heading into the home stretch.

Geoffrey Benedict: A+
(previous: A+, A+)
11-1 with almost no chance of missing the playoffs. They aren’t in a good spot right now with injuries or how they are playing, so this may drop in the 4th quarter, but right now the coaches have this team exactly where it needs to be, playoff bound.

Jeff Hartman: A
(previous: A, A)
If I were to poll 1,000 Steelers fans and ask if there was any chance they would be upset with an 11-1 record heading into Week 14, not one would say they would be upset with this hypothetical situation. Only problem is, it is real life and plenty of fans are upset with the Steelers. 11-1 is 11-1.

Big Bro Scho: A-
(previous: B+, A)
Yes the Steelers are 11-1, but the stagnant offense of the past quarter has me a bit nervous moving forward. Could they be fine during the last quarter of the season? Sure, but until I see it I am still going to worry.

Shannon White: A
(previous: A+, A+)
Ben Roethlisberger rehabbed his elbow so he could lead his Steelers in the pursuit of another Lombardi Trophy. Although the playoffs seem secure, there is work to be done.

Bryan Anthony Davis: A
(previous: A, A)
They are 11-1. Despite your fears for the future, they are a five-star franchise.

Anthony Defeo: A
(previous: A, A)
I think they’re still in pretty good shape. They just need to work some things out over the final quarter of the regular season.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers overall through the first 12 games?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    A
    (144 votes)
  • 49%
    B
    (171 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (5 votes)
347 votes total Vote Now

So what do you think? Who at BTSC got it right? What grades do you give to Steelers for each position? Hopefully you answered each poll, but feel free to leave your comments below.