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Report Card: Grading the Steelers 27-17 loss to the Packers in Week 4

The Steelers are beginning to stack failing grades.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Boy oh boy was it another ugly day to watch Pittsburgh Steelers football. They played poorly in close to every facet of the game, and their quarterback looked like he couldn’t hack it at this level anymore. Aside from a great drive to start the game, the Steelers looked like they didn’t belong on the field of play and really were dominated by the Green Bay Packers. Below you will find the grades for each of the Steelers units, and like most recent weeks, things get ugly pretty quick.

Offense

This is becoming a really sad theme. The Steelers offense has been putrid week in and week out and hasn’t shown any sign of improving. Early on in the game the group showed some promise driving the length of the field before Ben Roethlisberger hit Diontae Johnson on a 45 yard strike. But that is where all the positivity is lost.

Ben Roethlisberger played perhaps one of the worst games of his career. And now I feel like I am a broken record by writing that same sentence week after week. His decision making, especially on possession downs, has been terrible. Deciding to throw the ball underneath the chains with no hope of picking up a first down is inexcusable, and something you would expect from a junior varsity football player, let alone a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Roethlisberger also looked wildly inaccurate for most of the afternoon even on a lot of his completed passes receivers were having to turn back or slow down for the football. Roethlisberger also missed a number of deep shots to a wide-open JuJu Smith-Schuster, hitting both of which completely changes the outcome of the game.

I was impressed with Najee Harris, however, who ran hard and seemingly pushed the pile forward every time he got a carry. Even behind an offensive line that has struggled each and every week, Harris has been able to push through and make some solid plays. You can tell he is an elite talent but needs more help around him for him to flourish to the extent his potential would allow him to rise.

The receivers and tight ends were fine, but it’s hard to really gauge them with how inaccurate Ben Roethlisberger was on the day. You could see on a list of replays at least one receiver running open on any given play, and the Steelers’ gunslinger simply not seeing him or missing him with a poor throw. It may be time to start thinking about making a change behind center in Pittsburgh

Final Grade: F


Defense

The Steelers defense was below average. But to their credit the offense did them no favors by never having any extended drives or periods to give them any sort of rest. You could tell they were a tired group, and a number of the players coming off of injury still weren’t quite 100%. TJ Watt had a pair of sacks, both being the cheap variety, but otherwise looking like he was still held back by his pulled groin. He wasn’t a dominant force we’ve been accustomed to seeing that kind of player that can completely take over a game.

The defensive backfield was just all right, but again it is hard to judge them when they are facing one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history and a player that simply makes great decisions in Aaron Rodgers. Davante Adams is also one of the best receivers in the game, so you know he is going to put up numbers anytime he’s on the field especially when No. 12 is his quarterback.

The linebackers and defensive line were all just OK, and you could tell they were tired as the game wore on. The Steelers game plan was obviously to try to limit what Rodgers could do in the air, and that opened up some space in the rushing attack the Steelers simply couldn’t contribute enough bodies to stop. Basically the Steelers couldn’t afford to fall far behind allowing the Packers to run the ball at will, but that is essentially what happened and the Steelers couldn’t do anything about it.

Final Grade: C-


Special Teams

Not much of a noteworthy day on special teams. Can’t really grade the blocked field goal that never was because the penalty wiped the play out, otherwise his grade is an easy A+. Boswell cracked that 52 yarder off the upright and in, and Ray-Ray McCloud Had a solid effort returning the football. Pressley Harvin III was streaky throughout most of the game, and even with his draft status and after beating out Jordan Berry for the job you would expect more from a youngster. Not a whole lot else not worthy to talk about for this unit other than Miles Killebrew picking up a couple nice tackles, but that is about it.

Final Grade: C


Overall

Calling a spade a spade, it was just hard to watch this team play football. The Packers were clearly a better team you almost felt hopeless once that game changing blocked field goal was taken away via penalty. Ben Roethlisberger looked like a quarterback in his mid-50s, let alone his late 30s, and any more game action like what we saw today could spell the end for his run with the Steelers. It’s hard to fault the defense, giving the position they were put in time after time, but they were also not living up to their incredibly high standards.

Hopefully this team can figure things out quickly here as the season has fallen off the rails and continues to head in a very poor direction. If they can’t figure it out quick, not only will they be lost in the AFC North race but they may be facing a bottom 10 finish in the league.

Final Grade: F


What do you think? Do you agree with the grades above? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.