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Steelers Report Card: Final grades of the Steelers 2020 season

The staff at BTSC gives grades for the Steelers upon the completion of the 2020 season.

NFL: JAN 10 AFC Wild Card - Browns at Steelers Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The staff at BTSC are throwing their grades on the Steelers offense, defense, special teams, and coaches as well as their overall performance. After giving grade after every four games, this time it will be for the entirety of the 2020 season

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


Offense

Dave Schofield: C
(previous: A-, B+, C+)
The Steelers showed they only had so many ideas for the season and they showed them all early. When one part of your game is ineffective, there’s only so much you can do.

K.T. Smith: D
(previous: A, B, D+)
It was an epic collapse for the offense. From a unit that looked dominant at times early on to one that was often hapless at the end, this was a stunning decline. I don’t care how well you throw the ball - if you finish last in the NFL in rushing things are not going to end well.

Geoffrey Benedict: D-
(previous: B-, C+, D-)
The 2019 Steelers offense, through week 15, scored on 30.7% of their drives. in the second half of 2020, the Steelers offense scored on 31.3% of drives. They were healthy for the end of the year and they were terrible. The last quarter they earned an F, they get a D- for the season because how you end the season matters more than how you start.

Jeff Hartman: C
(previous: B, B+, D)
For as bad as it was at times, if I am giving a final grade it can’t be worse than a C considering some of the early season success they had. The offense faltered down the stretch, but that can’t nullify the good this group did at one point this season.

Big Bro Scho: C
(previous: B+, B, C+)
As great as the offense started out this season, the way they fizzled at the end it was obvious they were no more than an average offensive unit. Not being able to run the ball as the season went on really hurt.

Shannon White: C-
(previous: B, B-, C)
As you can see from my previous grades, the Steelers offense trended in the wrong direction as the season progressed. The previous year's offense without Ben Roethlisberger was putrid, but his relatively healthy return only achieved in making them one dimensional. As we have learned in the playoffs thus far, all quarterbacks need a running game. For the Pittsburgh Steelers that begins and ends with improvement on the offensive line.

Bryan Anthony Davis: (C-)
(previous: A, A-, C)
If I’m looking at the season in it’s entirety, I would be remiss to ignore how potent the Steelers were on offense until December. But team’s figured them out down the stretch and they were mostly impotent at the end. What’s pushing the grade down, though, is the lack of a running game. You can blame the guys carrying the ball, the blockers or the scheme. it’s your choice. But the rushing game being ranked 32 out of 32 is what killed the Super Bowl dreams of this team.

Anthony Defeo: C
(previous: B+, B, C-)
The offense started out unstoppable, averaging 30 points a game at one point. Unfortunately, it went from that to unbearable by the end of the season.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ offense for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    B
    (56 votes)
  • 38%
    C
    (551 votes)
  • 48%
    D
    (698 votes)
  • 8%
    F
    (129 votes)
1443 votes total Vote Now

Defense

Dave Schofield: B
(previous: B+, B+, A)
Perhaps I’m weighing the playoff game too heavily, but it was the most important game of the season. It has to bring the grade down.

K.T. Smith: B
(previous: A-, A-, A)
The defense was great at times but suffered from the loss of Devin Bush and Bud Dupree. They played soft in the playoff loss to Cleveland. That’s unacceptable.

Geoffrey Benedict: A-
(previous: A, A-, A+)
The defense played hard to the end of the regular season, weathered multiple major injuries and remained a top 5 unit. But it wasn’t just Devin Bush, Bud Dupree and Joe Haden being out that hurt them in the playoffs, they looked lost and un-focused. That hurts their grade a lot, but they still get a lot of credit for this season, they carried this team.

Jeff Hartman: B
(previous: B+, B+, A)
Just like the Steelers’ offense not being graded on how they finished the season, neither should the defense. The playoff loss was a resounding dud, but they had a tremendous season. You are left wondering what could have been if Devin Bush and Bud Dupree didn’t get hurt, and that is a sinking feeling.

Big Bro Scho: B+
(previous: B+, B+, A)
Overall I feel the defense did its job throughout the year, minus the dud they showed us in the playoffs. They did a good job overcoming major injuries, and continued to pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Shannon White: B
(previous: B-, B, B+)
The Steelers defense never reached their full potential due to devastating injuries and games missed due to COVID protocol. This apparently caused the unit to wear down when the struggling offense needed them the most. Big changes and huge personnel decisions lie ahead for what amounted to a top three defense this season.

Bryan Anthony Davis: B+
(previous: C, A-, A)
This unit did their job and played their hearts out, even when they weren’t healthy. Losing Bush and Bud was too hard to swallow, but this was a strong unit in 2020.

Anthony Defeo: B
(previous: B, B-, A)
It’s hard to be too critical of the defense, given the list of injuries it endured as a unit. However, there was certainly a drop off after the combined losses of Devin Bush, Bud Dupree and Robert Spillane.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ defense for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    A
    (219 votes)
  • 64%
    B
    (863 votes)
  • 17%
    C
    (228 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (13 votes)
1336 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams

Dave Schofield: B
(previous: A-, B+, B)
They didn’t do anything spectacular down the stretch, but also didn’t become a liability.

K.T. Smith: B+
(previous: B+, A-, B)
This was the most solid special teams unit, top to bottom, we’ve had in years.

Geoffrey Benedict: B
(previous: B, B, B)
Steady and reliable this season, There was a lot of turnover, and they had a great season. Danny Smith gets a good grade for once.

Jeff Hartman: C
(previous: A, B, B)
Chris Boswell got hurt down the stretch, but Matthew Wright filled in nicely. Jordan Berry is Jordan Berry, nothing will change in that regard. What might be the most disappointing was how these units had no splash plays this year. No touchdowns, no blocks...nothing.

Big Bro Scho: B
(previous: A, A-, B)
I feel that the special teams units were solid this year but did have some areas they could improve. Coverages that started out spectacular came back to Earth as the season went on. Kicking was solid but nothing outstanding. I kept hoping for a return touchdown that never came.

Shannon White: B
(previous: A, B+, B)
Coach Danny Smith produced a solid showing from a continuously changing group. Boswell was excellent when healthy, which was a struggle. Wright filled in admirably, although with extremely limited range. Jordan Berry's return waved a white flag. Coverage was solid throughout, but blocking penalties on returns increased as the season wore on, probably due to all the new faces. Ray-Ray McCloud's effectiveness faded also.

Bryan Anthony Davis: B
(previous: B+, B-, B)
This was probably the best year had by a black-and-gold special teams unit in eons. They weren’t amazing, but never a liability.

Anthony Defeo: A
(previous: A, A, A)
Overall, I thought it was a good year for special teams.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ special teams for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (61 votes)
  • 57%
    B
    (672 votes)
  • 31%
    C
    (372 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (41 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (20 votes)
1166 votes total Vote Now

Coaching

Dave Schofield: C-
(previous: B-, B-, B-)
Too little creativity on offense as the season pressed on and too much living in your fears in the postseason. You’ve got to stay ahead of the coaching curve once you put things on tape.

K.T. Smith: C+
(previous: A, A+, A-)
The Steelers went south in December and, except for a stellar second half against Indy, never recovered. That’s on the coaching staff. It’s their job to find a way to turn it around.

Geoffrey Benedict: B
(previous: A, A++++, A)
Can’t drop them too far. The Defense lost too many key parts. The offense tried to innovate, but was limited by the quarterback’s reliance on a specific scheme. The embarrassing play at the end of the season hurts the grade a lot here, but coaches don’t snap or tackle, and they can’t focus for the players.

Jeff Hartman: B
(previous: A, A+, A)
The Steelers’ coaching staff had a great season, but at what point do you consider these late season collapses to be troubling trends?

Big Bro Scho: C+
(previous: B+, B+, B+)
The drop in grade is really about the last several games of the season, followed by a complete flop in the playoffs. you can put a lot on the players but at some point coaching has to come into play.

Shannon White: C
(previous: A, A-, B)
The Steelers have already made multiple coaching decisions and changes since the season ended so disappointingly, yet again. For a franchise renowned for their stability and aversion to unnecessary changes, their actions thus far speaks volumes.

Bryan Anthony Davis: B-
(previous: A+, A+, A)
I’m fine with Mike Tomlin as the head man in Steel City, but the debacle that was the last quarter of the season can not be excused. The offensive game plan was bland and it just seemed like the offensive coordinator was never held accountable to make adjustments,

Anthony Defeo: C
(previous: A+, A+, A)
After a fourth-straight collapse to close out the season, it’s hard to argue with those who want head coach Mike Tomlin to get the ax. He won’t and he shouldn’t, but when three assistant coaches are given their walking papers, that says a lot.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ coaching for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (9 votes)
  • 12%
    B
    (145 votes)
  • 40%
    C
    (490 votes)
  • 32%
    D
    (393 votes)
  • 14%
    F
    (169 votes)
1206 votes total Vote Now

Overall

Dave Schofield: B-
(previous: A, A, A)
After great grades early in the season helped bring up the average from the completely failing grade from the late-season collapse.

K.T. Smith: C+
(previous: A+, A+, A)
It’s tough to grade this without being jaded by the ending. When you start 11-0, you expect to win a playoff game. A+ for the start, F for the finish. Feels like a C+ overall.

Geoffrey Benedict:
(previous: A+, A+, A+) D
I know this is a grade for the entire season, but those first 16 games only exist to get you game #17. The Steelers get some points for winning the division, but to absolutely embarrass themselves in the playoffs wrecks the entire season.

Jeff Hartman: C+
(previous: A, A, A)
This entire season wasn’t a wash, but the way it ended, losing 5 of 6, was the epitome of falling flat on their faces. It seems like ages ago this team was 11-0 and riding high. What a joke.

Big Bro Scho: B-
(previous: B+, A, A-)
The start to the season was exciting, but the ending of the season was disheartening. I cannot ignore the great start, but at the same time I have to account for the horrible finish. There were a lot of ups and some downs as well.

Shannon White: B
(previous: A+, A+, A)
A 12-4 overall record, champions of the tough AFC North division that placed three teams in the big dance, and the first playoff berth in three years deserves nothing less in my book.

Bryan Anthony Davis: C+
(previous: A, A, A)
Unfortunately the 2020 season was a movie that started out great and left you disappointed at the end. They made the playoffs, but did we really think that they would be anything but one-and-done?

Anthony Defeo: C
(previous: A, A, A)
When a team starts out 11-0, you expect more than a 1-4 finish and one and done in the playoffs.

Poll

How would you grade the Steelers’ overall performance for the 2020 season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (7 votes)
  • 17%
    B
    (200 votes)
  • 59%
    C
    (687 votes)
  • 19%
    D
    (224 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (36 votes)
1154 votes total Vote Now

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