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Pittsburgh Steelers Report Card vs. the Baltimore Ravens Week 16

The Steelers battled the Baltimore Ravens for the second time this season in a frustrating game whose final score was 17-20.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers traveled to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in a game that was much closer than anyone anticipated (except, perhaps, cynical fans who know the Steelers sometimes struggle against weak teams.) Ryan Mallett took the helm for the Ravens, a team that has been decimated by injuries at virtually all positions this season. In the end, the Steelers lost 17-20.

Quarterback: D

Ben Roethlisberger played horribly in the first half, throwing a stupid interception with minutes to go in the second quarter and completing only around half of his passes (not counting the beauty he threw to the Ravens defender). Roethlsiberger played a bit better in the second half, but the team still struggled to move the ball down the field. Big Ben also threw a second dumb interception, a momentum-killer that gave the Ravens the ball just as fans had hope the Steelers would find a way to score. A third interception in the end zone was taken all the way back for a Ravens touchdown. A Ravens penalty caused the scoring play to be called back.

One of the times Roethlisberger was sacked, Jesse James was wide open down the field. There were multiple times that Roethlisberger's mistakes and sloppy play prevented the offense from getting in scoring position.

He finished the game with 220 yards and two interceptions, completing 24 of 34 passes.

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends: C+

Antonio Brown had several plays that were almost huge, including an almost-touchdown and an almost-first down, both of which were ruled incomplete since he did not have control of the ball in bounds. Through the first half, the Steelers relied more on the run game than the pass game, so the receivers and tight ends had few opportunities to make big plays.

Martavis Bryant has had a frustrating number of dropped passes this year, one of which happened at the beginning of the third quarter. While Bryant is capable of making incredible plays, he's failed to execute a number of relatively easy ones.

At the end of the game on a 4th & 15 play, the ball bounced off of Markus Wheaton failed to catch that was so well-thrown it bounced off of his shoulder.

Running Backs: A

DeAngelo Williams could not have played much better in the first half, running for over 80 yards and making some of the biggest offensive plays of the game, including a momentum-changing touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. Williams was the only bright spot in a game marked by dumb decisions and sloppy playing. Williams finished the game with two touchdowns and over 150 total yards.

Offensive Line: C

The offensive line held up well until the end of the first half when Ramon Foster gave up a sack, thwarting his team's momentum. In the second half, Villanueva gave up two sacks, one at a critical time when the Steelers were trying to get into scoring position to either tie the game or take the lead with a touchdown.

Often, the unit provided excellent run blocking for DeAngelo Williams, who had an incredibly productive first half, one of the best in his entire career.

Defensive Line: C-

Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett was rarely under pressure during the game. The defensive line was also unable to disrupt the Ravens offensive line, allowing running backs to pick up yards on plays that should have been thwarted around the line of scrimmage.

Stephon Tuitt came up with a big stop with three minutes remaining in the game, forcing the Ravens to punt and keeping the Steelers hopes alive for a few short moments.

Linebackers: D

During the first half, the linebackers did very little to help out the struggling secondary, putting minimal pressure on the Ravens quarterback and allowing rushers to maneuver with minimal hindrance. The secondary has become a convenient scapegoat, but on Sunday, the linebackers were the weak link throughout most of the game. In the fourth quarter, Ryan Shazier was out of position, allowing Mallett to connect with his receiver for a huge gain that put the Ravens in scoring position.

Secondary: C

The secondary is often criticized for poor play, but in the first half, the linebackers were to blame for many of the Ravens big plays. In the second half, the secondary generated some of the bigger defensive plays of the game including a Brandon Boykin sack in the third quarter.

The secondary was not able to regroup at halftime as they have in past games and execute difference-making plays. They also continued to tackle poorly and inefficiently.

Special Teams: B

Steelers special teams has shown some improvement over the last few weeks. At the end of the first half, Shamarko Thomas had a huge hit, stopping the Ravens return before it even started. Overall, the unit appeared cohesive and functional, more than can be said for other position groups.

Overall: D

Multiple units played poorly on Sunday, resulting in an avoidable loss that could end up costing the Steelers a playoff spot. The team played so poorly that they did not look like they even belong in the playoffs, and with a Jets win against New England, they saw their playoff hopes dwindle.