The Pittsburgh Steelers had a chance to move back into the division race facing the Baltimore Ravens without Lamar Jackson. By the end of the game the Ravens third string quarterback was playing against Mitch Trubisky, and it wasn’t pretty.
The Steelers struggled to run the ball this week. Their five-game streak of 100+ yards (during which they averaged 158 rushing yards a game) ended, as they ran 20 times for 65 yards. Najee Harris ran 12 times for 33 yards to lead the Steelers as the Ravens bottled up the run game the vast majority of the game.
But the big story was the injury to Kenny Pickett and the game Mitch Trubisky had in relief. Pickett only attempted one pass and ran twice before leaving the game. Mitch Trubisky had a very Mitch Trubisky game coming off the bench. He threw downfield a lot, and made some very nice plays. In fact, outside of his three interceptions, it was a pretty good day for Trubisky. Of course, outside of two throws Neil O’Donnell played pretty well in Super Bowl XXX...
The interceptions Mitch Trubisky threw were all terrible. Two of them involved Trubisky locking onto his receiver and failing to see a defender coming from the other direction. The third was a deep throw he overthrew badly with a safety playing center field. All three were on the Ravens side of the field and two happened inside field goal range. When you throw two awful interceptions from within field goal range and lose by two points it’s pretty darn costly.
Trubisky’s good day outside of the interceptions is best realized by looking at his receivers’ stats. Diontae Johnson didn’t have a perfect game, but 82 yards on eight targets is a very good day at the office. George Pickens gained 78 yards on just 3 targets for a rare game where the Steelers receivers were the best part of the offense. Combined the Steelers wide receivers caught 14 of their 17 targets for 197 yards, 11.6 yards per target for the group.
Honor Roll: George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Steven Sims.
Demerits: Mitch Trubisky’s three interceptions, The offensive line in blitz pick up and run blocking.
Final Grade: F
This one really hurts. Watching the game for the second time I was watching the defensive line, and realized the Ravens were having success running at Cameron Heyward. Heyward struggled uncharacteristically in the game against the Atlanta Falcons, and again this week against the Ravens. Both he and T.J. Watt look like they are well below 100% out there and frequently looked worse than players like Chris Wormley and Jamir Jones.
The Steelers gave up over 200 yards rushing on only 9 drives, and also allowed a yards per carry of over 5. That’s bad. The Steelers not only couldn’t stop the run, they also struggled when Tyler Huntley was throwing the ball, and lost track of receivers multiple times during the game. It was bad. The Steelers only gave up 16 points as the defense held the Ravens to three field goals and started the second half by forcing two punts. The defense was not good, but they kept the Steelers in the game even while struggling.
While in no way would I exonerate the defense for their role in this debacle of a game, it should be obvious that the defense was still better than the offense.
Honor Roll: Chris Wormley, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Demerits: Run defense, Run defense, and Run defense.
Final Grade: F (but a higher F)
A 17-yard punt, a blocked field goal (in a 2-pt. loss), poor return game and not great coverage either.
The Special teams unit joined the offense and defense in having a very bad day as well. One of their worst games in years.
Honor Roll: Miles Boykin
Demerits: Almost everything else.
Final Grade: F
The Steelers repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, and they had to in order to lose this game. They could have easily stumbled into a win any number of ways, instead the Steelers came together in all 3 phases of the game and managed to pull out a difficult loss.
Final Grade: F
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Give us your grade for the Steelers overall performance and let us know your thoughts in the comments below
Grade the Steelers Week 14 loss to the Ravens
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