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Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 19-13 Week 15 victory over the Titans

Taking a look at who performed well, and who didn’t, after the Steelers’ 19-13 Week 15 victory over the Titans.

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Leave it to the Pittsburgh Steelers to play a pretty rough opening half only to turn it on in the second half to come back once again. This time the Steelers were victorious against the Tennessee Titans. These roller coaster ride of games can’t be good for one’s heart, but the Steelers continue to keep their playoff hopes alive. Below you will find the grades from the Steelers’ latest victory over the Titans, and how each of their units fared against the team from Nashville.

Offense

Despite the victory, the Steelers’ offense did not play well. If it wasn’t for four defensive turnovers the Steelers still would’ve lost the game due to lack of offense. The running game just couldn’t get going, and the Steelers passing attack floundered. Because of the big plays on defense, the team was still able to put points up on the board. But it was still a tough day for this unit.

Ben Roethlisberger was okay during this game. He made some strange decisions, but ultimately did enough to lead the Steelers to victory. The offensive line continued to struggle giving up sacks and not opening up any running lanes for Najee Harris. There really weren’t any high points for this unit either, no one really stood out in this game. The only highlights which can be featured is Ben Roethlisberger surpassing Philip Rivers for fifth place on the all-time passing yardage leader list. On top of that, Diontae Johnson claimed his first 1,000 yard season. It was just a bad day on offense.

Final Grade: D+


Defense

The Steelers defense looked like the unit they have been the past couple years today. Still, you could tell this team was having a hard time stopping the run. But because of a huge day from Minkah Fitzpatrick the Steelers were able to limit being gashed on the ground and keep the Titans in check. This group forced four turnovers, which were the difference in the game. If the defense didn’t perform like they did, there’s no doubt in my mind the Steelers would have lost this game. Major kudos go out to Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden, Cam Heyward, and T.J. Watt Who played out of their minds Sunday.

The Steelers are trending in a better direction today because of this unit. If they can put up a stat line like they did vs. the Titans against the Chiefs next week, who knows, they may actually have a shot in Arrowhead.

Final Grade: A-


Special Teams

Pretty much every special teams unit did their job against the Tennessee Titans. But this low-grade is coming from one spot in particular, and has to be highlighted. The Steelers punt team was absolutely terrible in the first half, and nearly cost them the game. Pressley Harvin III had probably his worst day as a professional football player shanking virtually every punt. And the cover team didn’t do him any favors either giving up penalties and missing tackles. Thankfully, the Steelers were kicking field goals in the second half, and not punting, because if they were we would be talking about a loss right now. This was not good enough and needs to be figured out now.

Final Grade: D


Overall

To a degree, it’s fair to say the Steelers were lucky to win this game. The Titans made some terrible mistakes, but the Steelers were able to take advantage and claw their way back to victory. We should however, still be proud of the team for keeping their season alive and keeping peace in the AFC North. If the Steelers are able to win out they will have a legitimate chance at winning the division. It all had to start with a win, and that is exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to do. They rose to the occasion, and get to live to fight another day because of it.

The Steelers still have fundamental issues blocking for their quarterback, catching the football, opening up running lanes, defending the run, and punting the football. This is a gigantic list that needs to be corrected if the Steelers want to have any positive future whatsoever. I’m not sure this team will be able to fix all these things this year, but somehow someway they are still alive in this playoff race today.

Final Grade: C


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