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Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 16-13 Week 18 win over the Ravens

Taking a look at who performed well, and who didn’t, after the Steelers’ 16-13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In what was the most unbelievable of days to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan everything somehow fell into place and the black and gold are back in the playoffs. From the unlikely to the downright impossible, things just barely worked out for the Steelers. The most important thing they could control was their own game and they took care of business against the Baltimore Ravens down in Maryland. Below are the grades for Sunday’s game for a now playoff bound football team.

Offense

It was another ugly day for the offense which has become a theme for the 2021 season. But when it mattered most Ben Roethlisberger and company drove down the field to win the game, and it wouldn’t have been done without him. Things looked bleak early on when Najee Harris went down with an elbow injury missing most of the game before returning in the second half. Benny Snell looked pretty good in a replacement role, but you could tell the talent drop off.

Pat Freiermuth and Ray-Ray McCloud were big time contributors in the clutch, making big catches on third and fourth down when the Steelers needed them the most. Chase Claypool also hauled in what is likely Ben Roethlisberger‘s final regular season touchdown pass, and played an all around decent game. The offensive line didn’t look quite as good as they did against the Cleveland Browns but did just enough to push this team to victory.

Final Grade: C


Defense

It was another great day for the defense, though this has become a staple for this version of the Pittsburgh Steelers. T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s sacks in a season record, but in reality he probably should’ve been given 1.5 more. The pass rush had a pretty solid day, and if it wasn’t for Huntley‘s mobility they definitely would’ve had more sacks. With how this group is playing now it will be interesting to see if they can rattle Patrick Mahomes’ cage in the Wild Card round.

The defensive backs had a pretty solid performance limiting all of the Ravens’ receivers. Cam Sutton‘s end zone interception was perhaps the play of the game. Without it, the Steelers most likely lose this one. It was an incredibly clutch play that saved the Steelers season. The linebackers weren’t stellar, if we are being honest, with Mark Andrews having himself a nice day, but all in all the defense looked pretty good as a whole.

Final Grade: A


Special Teams

It was a bit of an up-and-down day for the special teams. Punter Pressley Harvin III was the most inconsistent once again with some shanked punts. But Chris Boswell was once again a clutch hero for this team drilling another late field-goal, this time in overtime, to send the Steelers to the playoffs. Ray-Ray McCloud also had a good day in kick return and punt return duties giving the Steelers some decent starting field position all day long.

Final Grade: B


Overall

Overall this was an incredibly stressful day to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. However everything fell into place to win this game and to get into the playoffs. Everything else that happens from here on out is just gravy. As for this game, the Steelers did just enough in about every facet of the sport to be victorious, and they should be complemented on the victory they put on tape. They will need to be even better next week to march into Arrowhead Stadium and hope to have any shot at winning the football game. But stranger things have happened, enjoy this one Steelers fans, hopefully they can build on these last two games.

Final Grade: B+


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