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Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 1 victory over the Bills

The Steelers won on the field, but did they get a passing grade?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers marched into Buffalo and punched the Buffalo Bills right in the mouth. A game no one was expecting the Steelers to win was dominated for most of the game by the Steelers. It was a gutsy performance against a legit Super Bowl contender that should finally shut up a lot of the doubters, and a game that can easily be described as a statement win. But how did each unit grade out? Below you will get the result’s

Offense

The offense was a tale of two half’s, in the first half the Steelers were putrid. They couldn't get anything together and struggled to move the ball at all. In the second half the Steelers never punted once and scored on every possession excluding the kneel down. Perhaps Ben Roethlisberger said it best that the Steelers offense would have ‘growing pains’. While it certainly looked bad at times the Steelers did enough to get the job done.

The offensive line struggled mightily but got it together as the game went on. The receivers were really good, and caught everything thrown their way. Tight ends were limited in their targets but made plays when it did. Ben Roethlisberger was pretty good but struggled to hit Najee Harris underneath often overthrowing the running back. Speaking of Harris, he had a decent debut but the O-line didn't do him any favors. Harris did as well as he could given the circumstances.

Final Grade: C+


Defense

Boy oh boy, this is an amazing unit. The Steelers defense was dominant from wire to wire. The group held the Bills high-flying attack to just 16 points (3 of which were spotted to them by the special teams). It’s only one game, but I think this unit has what it takes to become one of those truly specials groups that get remembered in history.

Cam Sutton grabbed the brass ring in his starting debut and was a playmaker all game long. The Bills clearly tried to target Sutton but he was swatting passes and making tackles for loss throughout the game. Tre Norwood was also impressive in the secondary allowing Minkah Fitzpatrick to roam more.

The defensive line was great, but no one was greater than Cam Heyward who did it all. Heyward forced and recovered a fumble, swatted multiple passes, and recorded a sack. The Steelers defensive captain was an animal on the field once again.

But it was the Steelers edge rushers that were the stars of this game. Alex Highsmith was all over the field, Melvin Ingram was living in the Bills backfield, and the freshly paid T.J. Watt recorded a pair of sacks and racked up five additional quarterback pressures. This edge rushing trio is a special group, and perhaps could be one of the best the Steelers have ever featured.

Final Grade: A+++


Special teams

It started off so bad with the Steelers giving up 75 yards on the opening kickoff. But things got better as the day went on, ultimately highlighted by Miles Killebrew blocking a punt and Ulysees Gilbert III scooping it up for a touchdown! Chris Boswell was also perfect on the day going 3/3 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points. Pressley Harvin III was fine but also shanked a punt. All-in-all it was a good day on specials marred by a couple bad plays.

Final Grade: B


Overall

The Steelers were far from perfect (well, the defense was extremely close), but they did everything needed to win this game. The defense’s strong day pulls the grade up, and for good reason. Any time you knock off a Super Bowl favorite in their stadium, you can call that win a statement. The Steelers did exactly what was necessary to win the game, despite a lack of style points. It wasn't pretty, but effective.

Final Grade: B+


But what do you think? How would you grade the Steelers Week 1 victory vs the Bills? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.