The dust has settled and the Pittsburgh Steelers were left shell-shocked in a 26-17 defeat at home to the Las Vegas Raiders. Not a whole lot went right for the Steelers on Sunday afternoon, from injuries, to blown plays it was an all around let down by the men of steel. Below are the game grades for the offense, defense, and special teams of the Steelers, and today’s poor performance will be a direct link to the grades they received.
The Steelers offense once again stumbled out of the gate. Slow starts have plagued this team for a long time, but in 2021 the problem has only grown. Seemingly, the Steelers offense doesn't wake up until near the end of the first half. Ben Roethlisberger also hobbled out of the gate, but finished the game a shade under 300 yards, his one interception was a terrible decision on a play he should have just taken the sack.
Najee Harris looked pretty good, considering he wasn't given much in terms of rushing lanes. His 25-yard touchdown reception was the first of his career, and he threw a vicious stiff arm that will be replayed on highlight reels for the rest of the season. Harris is a great football player, I just hope he can get some proper running lanes to run through.
The tight ends and receivers were fine, you would wish Chase Claypool would start bringing down some of those jump balls Roethlisberger has been launching his way. This offense has the players to be a big play team, but the big plays just aren't happening. It’s frustrating to know their potential only for it to not be met week after week. You have to hope a break out game is on the way, but we have been waiting on this for a long time.
Overall Grade: D+
It’s hard to fault the defense for this game considering they were down four starters from the week before, and Stephon Tuitt who is on Injured Reserve. Joe Haden, Devin Bush, Tyson Alualu, and T.J. Watt all missed more than a half of the game, and their absences were noticeable. Despite not having them in the game, the rest of the Steelers defense kept things interesting.
Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr ripped the Steelers defense to shreds in the passing game throwing for more than 350 yards. Carr seemingly had a receiver running open on every play, with Hunter Renfrow gashing the defense on what felt like every third down. The Steelers managed to keep Darren Waller in check for most of the afternoon, but the other pass catchers more than made up for it. Henry Ruggs put the game on ice taking a Carr pass 61 yards for a the dagger touchdown on third down. That play could've been the difference in the game, and unfortunately it fell in the Raiders’ favor.
The Steelers did erase the Raiders rushing attack however. Was it the Steelers front that did it, or the Raiders lack of interest running the ball with Josh Jacobs out of the game remains to be seen, but the fact of the matter remains, the Steelers defense didn't get gashed on the ground.
Overall Grade: C-
Pretty quiet day returning the football from both sides, but Pressley Harvin III and Chris Boswell were excellent. Harvin bombed the ball all over the field, including one that was downed at the three yard line. While Boswell kicked a Heinz Field record 56-yard field goal in a high pressure scenario. The kicker and punter did their job perfectly, now hopefully they can carry that throughout the year.
Overall Grade: B+
It just want the Steelers’ day, the defense desperately needs to get healthy, and the offense needs to start figuring out what they have to do on the field. The Steelers won't win many, or any, games with today’s formula, and that needs to change. The Raiders were simply the better team on this day, and for the Steelers playing at home in front of fans for the first time since 2019 is shocking and never should have happened.
The Steelers also beat themselves at times on Sunday, suffering a number of penalties, including offsides, holds, and false starts. These are simple penalties that can be taken out of any game by being more disciplined. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to talk about the Steelers shooting themselves in the foot this year.
Overall Grade: C-
But what do you think? Do you agree with these Steelers grades? Let us know your thoughts down in the below.