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Steelers Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals

Breaking down the success and failures of Pittsburgh’s Week 15 performance.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers blew it. They blew the top seed in the AFC, they blew the AFC North, they blew an 11-0 start to the season, and they blew away the 2020 season. Does it seem too soon to be saying this? No, absolutely not. This team has gone from contender to the gutter, and I would be surprised if they won another game this year. This is a far more gloomy end than I would have ever anticipated the Steelers would have in 2020.

Let’s evaluate the team and highlight some individual performances. You may think my grades are spot on, you might also think I'm an idiot. Regardless, express your thoughts in the comments below.

Let’s do this...

Offense

Grade: F

This is as bad as it could be. Right now, in this moment, I think this team should burn down its entire offense. Had the Steelers started the 2020 season like how they are playing now they would be the leader in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.

Ben Roethlisberger perhaps played the worst game of his career, and after reports of him returning in the 2021 surfaced the Steelers might have to tell him to play for another team. If anyone wants him...make that double for Alejandro Villanueva who was also garbage.

Legitimately this was a terrible offensive performance. Embarrassing is an understatement. Gloomy days are on the horizon and I’m not ready for it.

Poll

What grade would you give the Steelers’ offense for Week 15?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (35 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (17 votes)
  • 7%
    D
    (136 votes)
  • 88%
    F
    (1537 votes)
1728 votes total Vote Now

Defense

Grade: C (But it should be Incomplete)

The Steelers offense screwed its defense. They once again played a fine game but, because they weren't able to score any points, the Bengals were able to continue to run the ball and virtually never throw it. Had the Bengals been losing at any point and they had to throw the ball this wouldn't have been close.

No turnovers or ability to stop the run however was inexcusable. This unit is far too good to have performances like that against teams like the Bengals. Sure you could blame injuries, but the guys that were available are far too good to let that happen.

The Steelers need to be better in all phases, defense included.

Poll

What grade would you give the Steelers’ defense for Week 15?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (26 votes)
  • 12%
    B
    (199 votes)
  • 32%
    C
    (502 votes)
  • 40%
    D
    (625 votes)
  • 12%
    F
    (199 votes)
1551 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams

Grade: C

What can be said about the special teams? Everyone kind of just did their job. Jordan Berry had a decent day punting the football, Ray-Ray McCloud was fine at kickoff and punt returns, and Chris Boswell knocked through all his field goal attempts. Even the kick coverage had a pretty good day and were able to lay some pretty solid hits. Nothing was spectacular, nothing was great, and nothing was bad. So the special teams get an average grade for an average day.

Poll

What grade would you give the Steelers’ special teams for Week 15?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    A
    (51 votes)
  • 40%
    B
    (540 votes)
  • 40%
    C
    (539 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (112 votes)
  • 7%
    F
    (95 votes)
1337 votes total Vote Now

Coaching

Grade: F

After today’s game I am officially siding with the group of Steelers’ fans that are calling for someone to lose their job. That someone, in my opinion, is Randy Fichtner. Whether or not Ben has a problem with that, he could leave town with his good buddy Randy. This was a brutal day once again for the offense and its play design. It’s hard to celebrate what the guys on the defensive side of the ball have been able to do week in and week out because of how bad Randy Fitchner and Company have been. I am incredibly disappointed in this team and this team’s coaching staff. You cannot lose three games in a row this late in the year like this team has three years in a row and expect to do anything in the playoffs. It’s time for serious change in Pittsburgh. Whether or not it starts at the top is yet to be seen, but some major philosophies on this team have to be changed.

Poll

What grade would you give the Steelers’ coaching for Week 15?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (36 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    C
    (21 votes)
  • 11%
    D
    (176 votes)
  • 83%
    F
    (1234 votes)
1473 votes total Vote Now

Overall

Grade: F

This season feels like it has come to an end tonight. The Pittsburgh Steelers have completely wasted away an 11-0 start, and have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse. One of the things that will sting a little bit harder than it should is, for a team who is currently as bad as the Steelers, they will be picking extremely late in the first round. The doom and gloom is not getting better anytime soon. However, the team has so much money tied up in Ben Roethlisberger that the Steelers might just be wise to eat it in 2021 and hope to find its next franchise quarterback in the 2022 draft. This was a soul-crushing defeat and I cannot see the Steelers rebounding from this in any way. It feels like the Steelers have officially handed the AFC North title to the Cleveland Browns. Somehow, I think a team that started at 11-0 will not win the division. It’s embarrassing and an extremely tough pill to swallow.

Poll

What overall grade would you give the Steelers’ Week 15 performance?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (34 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (6 votes)
  • 9%
    D
    (138 votes)
  • 87%
    F
    (1245 votes)
1426 votes total Vote Now

The Steelers now turn their attention to the Indianapolis Colts in the final game at Heinz Field for the year. Keep your eyes locked on BTSC for the latest updates, breakdowns, and previews for the Steelers Week 15 match up with the Bengals.