Welcome to the first installment of “Report Card” a new feature for Steel Curtain Rising, the title of which is self evident. The caveat I will add (on Scout’s Honor), I have not consulted Gerry DuLac’s grades or those of any other. Here are the grades for the Steelers performance against the Titans.
Dixon got hurt, just when he seemed to be making something happen, albeit with his legs. Batch looked rusty, but he did well considering the circumstances. Grade: C
Mendenhall, Moore, and Redman all got carries. If their average fails to impress, they carried the burden of an offense that was down to its 4th string quarterback and playing its 6th, 7th, and 8th string offensive lineman. Grade: C+
No one had too many balls thrown his way, but Ward dropped a certain touchdown pass that he must catch in a game like this. The Steelers needed more from their receivers than they got. Grade: C-
They didn’t keep the quarterback very clean, nor did they open much in the way of holes for the lineman. But as Mike Tomlin said, it was musical chairs, as the line was held together with spit, tape, and bubble gum before it was all over. Steelers need either Scott or Hills to step up, as neither distinguished himself. Grade: C-
The Steelers defense didn’t just make Chris Johnson look human, they humiliated him. That starts up front. And while Chris Hoke, Brett Keisel, and Aaron Smith deserve all the accolades they get, the coaches rotated in the second line and the defense did not miss a beat. Credit Tomlin, LeBeau, and Johnny Mitchell, but credit Nick Eason, Ziggy Hood, and Steve McClendon even more. Grade: A +
James Harrison is mean. James Harrison is nasty. James Harrison makes plays. James Harrison raises Hell. Harrison’s numbers: 2 sacks, two forced fumbles and 11 tackles. Lawrence Timmons was simply on fire, in on every play with 15 tackles and 1 forced fumble of his own. LaMarr Woodley netted an interception. James Farrior was James Farrior. Grade: A+
Once again, Troy Polamalu reminded everyone of how much we missed him, with a pick and a sack. Bryant McFadden also had a pick. Although it was more a result of the Prevent Defense, the Titans made the final drive look a little to easy. Still, they made up for it by defending a sure touchdown to Nate Washington later. Grade: A-
Wasn’t it nice to be the scorer on a kick return and not the scoree? Jeff Reed was 4-4 on field goals and the Steelers needed everyone of them. Still for the second time in less than a year, the Steelers special teams got suckered on an on-sides kick and they shouldn’t have. Grade: B+
Stevenson Sylvester – It wasn’t until Sunday that I realized that he wore 55, Jerry O’s old number. How appropriate. If anyone wondered why the Steelers made a roster spot for this guy, they need not wonder anymore.
Sylvester was all over the field on special teams, making things happen. Guys like that, and the spirit they display, are the reason why the Steelers were able to win yesterday.