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Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 36-28 Week 14 loss to the Vikings

Taking a look at who performed well, and who didn’t, after the Steelers’ 20-19 Week 14 loss to the Vikings.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tail of two halves for the Pittsburgh Steelers, well, really the first three quarters and the fourth... The Steelers may have never played a worst three quarters of football in my life. It was an embarrassing effort, or lack thereof, in every phase of the game. But the fourth quarter the Steelers looked like an entirely different team and almost erased a 29 point deficit to win the game in what would have been the largest comeback in NFL history. The differences in this team made the need for multiple grades per the final quarter and the opening three. I really won't spend much time at all on the bad, because simply everything was wrong...

Offense

The offense was so bad to start the game. From fumbles to bad blocking to missed throws. The unit looked like they were trying to get Ben Roethlisberger killed rather than win a football game. The biggest flubs of the night goes to Kendrick Green and Chase Claypool. Green couldn't make a snap to save his life, and was poor in getting snaps off as well as blocking. While the sophomore receiver made a laundry list of boneheaded plays, the worst of which being when the Steelers were driving the field to in the game Claypool celebrated a first down conversion that wasted an extra 12(ish) seconds of game time. It was just all around bad football.

But in the final frame of the game the Pittsburgh Steelers turned it on being led by their quarterback and slashed the Vikings defense. If it wasn't for a great defensive play by Harrison Smith we could be talking about the Steelers tying things up right now and who knows from there.

Final Grade (4th quarter): A
Final Grade (Quarters 1-3): F-


Defense

The defense was so unbelievably bad for the first three quarters of the game it wasn't even funny. I am surprised the Steelers were only down 29 points at one point with how bad they have been. Everything was breaking down from coverages to gap integrity, and the Steelers were getting gashed on every offensive play. Nearing the end of the game Ahkello Witherspoon started intercepting passes like it was nobody’s business, and the Steelers defense actually started to get stops. It was like watching two different units on the field.

The Steelers still need more contributions from all of there linebackers and defsenisve backs in the absence of Joe Haden. One player that did play well all game was Minkah Fitzpatrick who was making plays on passes and was the Steelers best tackler for the most part of the game. With T.J. Watt injured, the Steelers were unable to register a sac, and the pass rush looked bleak. They need to get healthy and quick.

Final Grade (4th quarter): B-
Final Grade (Quarters 1-3): F-


Special Teams

Chris Boswell missed a field goal, Pressely Harvin III continued his struggles, and Ray-Ray McCloud had some bad returns. It just wasn't a good day for the Steelers special teams units. Nothing seemed to get going all afternoon and in a way was a microcosm of the entire game.

Final Grade (4th quarter): C+
Final Grade (Quarters 1-3): F-


Overall

I want to forget about this game. The early struggles were embarrassing and didn't leave me satisfied when the Pittsburgh Steelers were coming back in the game. It was hard to watch for most of the night until the Vikings pulled out their usual schtick and tried to give away the game. If the Steelers performed like how they did in the fourth quarter all game long we would have been talking about them blowing out the Vikings, but that sure isn't what we saw on the field.

This might be the end of the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff hopes, from here on they need to play like how they did in the fourth quarter, and if they can take anything from this game it is to build upon what they did at the end of this game and continue to play like that for 60 minutes.

Final Grade (4th quarter): A-
Final Grade (Quarters 1-3): F- - -


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