The Pittsburgh Steelers played in one of the worst games I’ve ever watched in my life on Sunday. A 16-16 tie to the Detroit Lions was about as embarrassing and effort you could put on tape. For long stretches of the game the defense seem to be unable to tackle and in the crunch time the offences continue to fumble the ball away. It was a painful game to witness, and these grades will surely reflect that.
Everything started seemingly perfect. The Steelers marched their way down the field for a touchdown. It all seems so easy, until it didn’t. Almost immediately after that score the Steelers looked as though they forgot how to move the football. While the running game seem to be working all day the Steelers appeared determined to try to throw the ball to beat Detroit.
To his credit, Mason Rudolph really wasn’t that bad. Sure, he sailed some passes over open receivers occasionally, and he did throw that interception. But, when it came to crunch time Rudolph was dishing the ball all over the field and put the Steelers in a position to win the football game. That’s all you can ask for out of your back up quarterback and the Steeler should have won because of his efforts.
The back-breaking fumbles from Pat Freiermuth and Diontae Johnson are the reason why the Steelers aren’t currently in first place of the AFC North. Sure. Chris Boswell still would have been called on to make the game-winning field goal, but he never even got the opportunity because of the turnovers in overtime.
Ray-Ray McCloud was a really big target in this offense, for whatever reason, but he looked like a good target for Rudolph on this day. Aside from him, Najee Harris looked like a beast every time he touched the football and you would have wished he got it more often.
But the backbreaking mistakes, and inability to finish this game are the reasons for this failing grade.
Final Grade: F+
Starting off with positives. The Steelers limited Jared Goff and the Lions passing attack to almost nothing. And in overtime and the fourth quarter the Steelers defense looked like the ball couldn’t be moved against them.
But, between the first and third quarter it looked as though the Steelers didn’t know how to tackle anybody. Joe Schobert and Devin Bush looked lost on the field. The linebacker tandem missed tackle after tackle throughout most of this game. And every defensive tackle not named Cameron Hayward was pushed all over the field.
Alex Highsmith put a decent day together on the field, and T.J. Watt played well before his injuries. But it is hard for an edge rusher to take a game over when the opposition refuses to throw the football. Speaking of throwing the ball, the defensive backfield played pretty well. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, and Tre Norwood were noticeable all day long as tacklers and in coverage. They played well despite minimal action.
Final Grade: D
The punting and kicking itself was fine on this day. It’s really hard to complain about the efforts of Pressley Harvin III, and Chris Boswell. Sure, you wish to have seen Boswell get the chance to hit the game winner, but sometimes the sport doesn’t give you the story book ending you’re looking for.
But it was the kick and punt coverage teams that seemed to struggle. The guys chasing the returners seem to over pursue or take bad angles in pursuit of the football. This was inexcusable for these positions and only seem to further the Steelers’ tackling woes on Sunday. These guys need to pick it up, and they need to do it quick.
Final Grade: C-
This was a brutal day. The football game was hard to watch, and a tie does nobody any favors. There definitely were some bright spots which saves this game from getting a big fat ‘F’ but it was really close. The Steelers likely don’t win any games with an effort like that again the rest of the season.
This is one do you would like to forget quickly and move on to bigger and better things. But alas they need a grade and below reflects the effort and talent we saw on the field.
Final Grade: D-
But what do you think? Do you agree with these grades? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.