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Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 41-10 Week 12 loss to the Bengals

Taking a look at who performed well, and who didn’t, after the Steelers’ 41-10 Week 12 loss to the Bengals.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

What a rough game that was to get through. The Pittsburgh Steelers are stacking some of their most embarrassing efforts together, and it is careening this season off the side of a cliff. If this team can’t wake up in a hurry they will be out of the playoffs before you know it. From whistle to whistle the Cincinnati Bengals absolutely dismantled this team and it is reflected in the grades below.


It was all bad. The Steelers refused to get the run game going, partly due to the fact they found themselves in such a large deficit. Ben Roethlisberger had one of his worst days in some time. The receivers made bone-headed mistakes, and the offensive line was dominated.

The garbage time yards certainly makes everyone else’s stat lines look better, but this game was so far out of reach so quickly I’m going to look past those numbers. The offense failed today and never showed any signs of anything. There really aren’t any positives to be found from this game, and makes me at least want to throw this tape in the garbage.

The most noteworthy thing was the Steelers bone-headed mistakes. From the interceptions, stupid penalties, and flat out botched plays, the Steelers hardly looked like a professional football team on this day.

Final Grade: F


I’m not sure what was worse today, the offense or the defense. All the mistakes from above ring true for this group too. Nobody seemed to be able to tackle, and no one looked like they wanted to make a play either. From wire to wire the defensive front was pushed around and allowed Joe Mixon to go bananas.

Devin Bush and the rest of their linebackers also continue their downward spiral into obscurity. It’s embarrassing what has happened to this front, and is going beyond missing Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. The secondary isn’t doing much better; however, when the Bengals wanted to throw the football guys like Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd made the defensive backs look silly.

We are approaching a juncture where the Steelers will need to start making serious considerations about the defensive starters on this team. More than one of them have played themselves out of a job and need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Final Grade: F

Special Teams

There really isn’t much to be said about this unit. Chris Boswell made his kicks, Pressley Harvin had a couple decent punts, the return game was invisible, and Derek Watt had a decent hit. That sums up the entirety of this special teams game. When you’re up big or down big this group tends to fade into obscurity and the Steelers were down very very big.

Final Grade: C


This game was embarrassing. It was embarrassing for the coaches, players, front office staff, owners, media members, and it was embarrassing for fans. This game will rank high in the annals of embarrassing Steelers losses. With the direction this team has been heading in recent weeks, there’s no reason to believe this season will ever get back on track. You just hope that some players will step up that we weren’t expecting and can be built upon for the future.

For the first time in a very long time the conversation is going to start around the Pittsburgh Steelers being a losing football team. If we weren’t prepared for this narrative before the season, it is time to start facing reality. A loss like this is a back breaker, and one you just hope the team doesn’t fall apart over.

Final Grade: F

But what do you think? Do you agree with these grades? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.