Fortunately for the Steelers the NFL regular season is the scholastic equlivant of a series of 16 pass fail tests with the only pluses and minuses coming in divisional games. With that said the report card for Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Seahawks was a good one, in most areas at least. Here go the Steelers specific grades, with the usual caveat that no other grades were consulted prior writing this post.
Ben Roethlisberger’s impressive statistics mask several high passes and that he should have had at least one if not two balls intercepted. But Ben played well, made key 3rd down conversions to move the chains and was forced to make lemonade by making things happen with his feet. Grade: B
If it is true that Rashard Mendenhall had little in the way of run blocking much of the time which has been said before many times, his production was also uneven which has also been said many times. Isaac Redman continues to impress and fully deserves the “Play of the Week” credit awarded to him by Behind the Steel Curtain. Grade: B
Bad news? Mike Wallace’s average is down. Good news? The Man is catching everything, notching is 5th straight 100 yard game. Young Money Recievers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown continue to make quality catches at key moments. And Hines Ward, well perhaps Dancing With the Stars Helped his Fancy Footwork. Grade: A
Let the record reflect that the Steelers had a goal line situation and couldn’t punch it in. Let the record reflect that Ben Roethlisberger got sacked out of “punch it in position” once and made it to the 20 another time only to end up kicking a 41 yard missed field goal. The Steelers couldn’t run in the second half. And Ben had to scramble 5 times. This unit must improve. Grade D+
Too old, too slow, too incapacitated by injury. Don’t tell that to Johnny Mitchell’s men. Granted, the Seahawks front 5 are no reincarnation of The Hogs, but the Steelers defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. The Steelers didn’t blitz for much of the game because they largely didn’t need to. Seattle totaled 31 yards rushing. Grade: A
This is another unit that fought back with a vengeance, helping in coverage to ensure that Pittsburgh got off the field on third down and sacking the day lights out of Jackson on the one drive where he threatened to score. Grade: A
The Steelers didn’t blitz much. Travias Jackson threw 29 times and completed 20 of those throws. Yet Seattle never crossed the 50 until the 4th quarter and was 2-12 on third down conversions. Granted, although he’s only a few years shy of 60, Steve Larget might be able to push for a roster spot in the Seahawks, but several some bodies in the Steelers secondary were doing something right. Grade: A
Antonio Brown 41 yard punt return gave this team a spark, and if his other returns did not bear fruit you have to like his aggressive attitude. Equally important, Seattle got nothing from its return game. Ah, but Sean Suisham, you gotta make those 41 yarders. Grade: B
Mike Tomlin clearly had his team mentally and physically prepared to play. Dick LeBeau had his defense mean and hungry. Bruce Arians had a good game and adjusted his play calling well to the inability to run the ball. The only real black mark is Tomlin’s waste of a challenge. Grade: B+
William Gay has done for the 3rd corner what Cliff Stoudt and Mark Malone did for the back up quarterback position. If there’s a corner that (some) Steelers fans love to hate it is William Gay. However Gay was trust into the starting line up, and the only time you saw he was either tight on coverage or making well-timed (legal) hits. Other than that, you didn’t hear his name, and for that William Gay is Steel Curtain Rising’s Unsung Hero of the Seawhawks game.