slideshow-background.jpg

BLOG

Steelers-Bengals report card: F's across the board


(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)


Quarterback - Ben Roethlisberger had a brutal performance against the Bengals on Sunday afternoon. Roethlisberger finished the game completing 24 of 41 passes (58.5%) for 263 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six by former Steeler Mike Hilton, and had a quarterback rating of 65.4. Roethlisberger also fumbled after getting sacked, which resulted in a turnover. Roethlisberger came into today's game with a 9-0 touchdown-interception ratio in his last five games, and it appeared he was turning things around. He took a big step back in Cincinnati.


Grade: F


Running Backs - Najee Harris rushed for just 23 yards on eight carries. As a team, the Steelers rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries. It's the second straight game that the Steelers have rushed for 55 yards or fewer. They were down for most of the two games, but even prior to trailing, the Steelers have struggled to run the ball efficiently. The Steelers don't have a capable No. 2 running back, and that's really hurting the offense and Harris. The biggest issue is the offensive line, however.


Grade: F


Wide Receivers - Chase Claypool has really regressed from his rookie year. It’s been a disappointing season. Claypool has just one touchdown reception through 11 games. He finished the season last year with nine touchdown receptions, along with two rushing touchdowns. Against the Bengals, Claypool had at least two drops and had a dumb facemask penalty where he ripped Darius Phillips' helmet off. Claypool finished the game with three receptions for 82 yards, two of the three receptions came on deep balls. He's just too inconsistent, though. Diontae Johnson had nine receptions for 95 yards, but some of those catches came in garbage time. Pat Freiermuth also had nice 15-yard touchdown grab, but the game was all but over at that point.

Grade: F


Offensive Line - This offensive line is just flat-out bad. They're going to have to rebuild it through the draft even more. The Bengals defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and smashed the Steelers' run game. The Steelers had to battle back from a big deficit, so that allowed the Bengals pass rushers to pin their ears back, and Trey Hendrickson was able to get to Roethlisberger for a strip/sack, which ended up in a turnover. The offensive line just doesn't get any movement in the run game. Harris has nowhere to go on most runs. They're going to need to get some maulers in the draft.


Grade: F


Defensive Line - The defense got gashed in the run game once again. Joe Mixon finished the game with a career-high 165 yards rushing on 28 carries (5.9 average) and two touchdowns. Mixon went over 100 yards by the second quarter. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, since holding the Browns to 96 yards rushing in Week 8, the Steelers have allowed an average of 180.5 yards rushing in the past four games. Like I've mentioned before, the Steelers just have Cameron Heyward and a bunch of guys on the defensive line. They really miss Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. The backups haven't filled in well at all. The Steelers even lined up Heyward at nose tackle today to try something different, and it obviously didn't work.


Grade: F


Linebackers - The Steelers honestly need to permanently bench Devin Bush. Mike Tomlin just needs to do it. I know Robert Spillane suffered a knee injury in the game, but can a healthy Spillane do much worse than Bush right now? At least Spillane can defend the run and tackle. Watt had an unusually quiet game with one solo tackle and no quarterback hits. However, Watt did miss last week's game against the Chargers due to hip and knee injuries. Alex Highsmith had two tackles for a loss but didn't get much pressure on Burrow.


Grade: F


Secondary - The Steelers held Ja'Marr Chase to just three receptions for 39 yards, but Tee Higgins went off with six receptions for 114 yards (19.0 average) and a touchdown, which was a 32 yarder. James Pierre got beat on the play. With Haden out, the Bengals targeted Pierre often and had their way. Burrow completed 83.3 percent of his passes against the Steelers. Minkah Fitzpatrick picked Burrow late in the second quarter, but it went to waste as Hilton had his pick-six on Roethlisberger on the next play.


Grade: F


Special Teams - There was no splash in the return game and Pressley Harvin III has actually been pretty disappointing this season. Harvin's net average on Sunday was 34.6 yards. Chris Boswell nailed a field goal from 40 yards out. Boswell is as consistent as they come.


Grade: F


Coaching - Tomlin stressed how big of a game this was, and the Steelers went out and lost by 31 points to the Bengals. The Steelers just looked flat in all three facets of the game. The 31-point loss tied the 34-3 loss to the Eagles in 2016 for the most lopsided defeat in the Tomlin era. The Steelers got stomped by the Bengals twice this year. It's also their third straight loss to the Bengals. This could be a changing of the guard. The defense has allowed 903 yards in the last two games, along with 75 points. Overall the Steelers have given up 82 points in the last two weeks. It's the most points allowed in back-to-back weeks during the Tomlin era. Tomlin along with defensive coordinator Keith Butler have to figure things out, and I'm not too sure they will. The Steelers now face a tough six-game stretch against the Ravens, at Vikings on Thursday Night Football, Titans, at Chiefs, Browns and at Ravens. If things don't turn around fast, this could end up being Tomlin's first losing season as the Steelers head coach.


Grade: F





87 views0 comments