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Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 5 victory over the Broncos

The Steelers snapped the losing streak but how did the team grade out?

Denver Broncos v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally snapped their three game losing streak and won their first game of the season at Heinz Field. And the Steelers did it in all three phases of the game against the Denver Broncos. This was an all-around team effort that got the job done. Despite the late game come back, the Steelers played a very solid game almost every second of the way. These grades will be among the best this team have received all year, and something they will need to continue to do if they want to become champions.

Offense

The Steelers offense did it in the air and on the ground. Najee Harris had his best game as a pro rushing for over 120 yards, picking up another 20 through the air and scored a touchdown. The more Harris can do what he did on Sunday the more likely the Steelers will be able to win football games on his back. You can tell he’s a special player, and a guy that has performed all year long.

Ben Roethlisberger also had a bit of a comeback game. He was throwing the ball all over the field accurately, and with plenty of zip. If Roethlisberger can stack games like this he will not be any danger of getting benched and will continue to be this team’s quarterback as long as he’s capable of doing so.

The offensive line had perhaps their best day of the season opening holes for Najee Harris as well as protecting Roethlisberger for most of the afternoon. They definitely weren’t perfect, but a performance like they had Sunday is serviceable and one you are happy to take each and every week the rest of the way.

The receivers and tight ends were fine, highlighted by Chase Claypool‘s big day, on Canadian Thanksgiving. The receiver tallied over 100 yards with a touchdown, and was the most noticeable receiver on the field.

Final Grade: B+


Defense

The defense played nearly a perfect first half of football forcing multiple three and outs to start the game. The group flew around to the football and punished anyone who had it in their hands. It was obvious the Broncos game plan was to protect Teddy Bridgewater at all costs, but in doing so limited the amount of options he had at his disposal. The Broncos were successful at throwing the ball late in the game, but thankfully the Steelers were able to hold on and the game was clinched on a James Pierre interception.

If the Steelers were able to hold on and not let the Broncos come back into the game this might have been a perfect A+ score, however letting them back in the game will see this grade suffer a bit. Nonetheless, this was an impressive performance by the defense and one this team can build on.

Final Grade: B+


Special Teams

The Steelers didn’t need their special-teams units a lot on this day. But when they were called upon they delivered. Chris Boswell was perfect on a day where most NFL kickers struggle mightily. Rookie punter Pressley Harvin III had two amazing pants which showed exactly why the Steelers drafted him. Steelers didn’t need much out of their kick return game, but what that group did was definitely good enough. And once again Derek Watt was a heat seeking missile as a special teams Ace. Solid game from this group.

Final Grade: A


Overall

The Pittsburgh Steelers impressed me on this day. Not only was the offense able to figure things out, but they did it against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look like an old man on the field and played like a top NFL quarterback would. Najee Harris broke out and the offensive line definitely silence some critics. The defense played perfectly up until the end, but did enough for victory and the special teams were impressive as a whole. This recipe is one that will see the Steelers win a lot of games if they are able to replicate it against future opponents. Great team win and one the Steelers can build off of.

Final Grade: A-


What do you think? Do you agree with these grades? Will the Steelers be able to build off this game for Sunday night football against the Seattle Seahawks next week? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.