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Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ 42-21 Wild Card loss to the Chiefs

Taking a look at who performed well, and who didn’t, after the Steelers’ 42-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Well, this certainly was a football game. The Pittsburgh Steelers were once again routed by the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. This game puts a close to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season, and likely the final game of Ben Roethlisberger‘s Hall of Fame career. Below you will find the game grades for the Steelers final game of the season.


The offense did nothing but punt the ball in the first half, and it was as hard to watch as any game was this year. If we can be honest with ourselves, nothing was working on this day. Ben Roethlisberger struggled delivering the football, the receivers had a hard time just catching the football when it did get to them, the offensive line struggled to open up any running lanes, and Najee Harris was running obviously banged up and fumbled for the first time in his career.

There aren’t many positives to draw from on the offense, I guess the Steelers were able to move the football a bit once the Chiefs kind of sat back when they had a comfortable lead. It was a microcosm of the season wrapped up in one game. The offense not being able to do anything which tired out the defense which then got the Steelers routed. It was bad, and this unit will see mass change this offseason because of it.

Final Grade: D


The Steelers defense started with a bang, stuffing the Chiefs in the first quarter before T.J. Watt scooped up a fumble and took it for his first career touchdown. But then the floodgates open and the Chiefs went on a scoring spree. It is really hard to pin a lot of the failures on the defense as they were asked to not step off the field nearly all game along with the Steelers offense’s inability to sustain any drives.

But at the end of the day, Patrick Mahomes still threw for over 400 yards and carved up the secondary. It was hard to watch, but really this entire season has felt the same way. This isn’t the Steelers defense we’re used to watching over the last 20+ years, but a team that was constantly on his heels. The unit has flaws that need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Final Grade: C-

Special Teams

Really it was an unremarkable day for the special teams. Aside from getting torched on a couple long punt returns, the Steelers really didn’t give up anything too crazy. But Chris Boswell and Pressley Harvin III didn’t do anything that was out of the ordinary, or out of the question. Just an average day for the special teams, on a day we really could’ve used a splash play.

Final Grade: C


It was just another ugly day for the Pittsburgh Steelers, not going to sugarcoat it. Thankfully a game like this should spark some change within the organization because it truly is time for them to go in another direction in a lot of positions. This team now turns to the offseason which should see a number of moves being made. With this game and season now in the rearview mirror, the Steelers need to focus on fixing these issues that have played this team for a couple years in a row now. Let’s see if they can do it…

Final Grade: D+

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