Taken from the grade book of a teachers who is re-learning the lesson that its far better to issue grades when performance is fresh in mind, here is the Pittsburgh Steelers report card for the victory over the Giants. As a caveat, even at this late date, no other Steelers report cards have been consulted.
For the first time in several games, Ben Roethlisbergerfaced real pressure and gave up four sacks. The fumble he got charged with looked to be bogus, but he also probably had another fumble incorrectly ruled down by contact. Roethlisberger did throw another dumb interception, but his execution on the Steelers scoring drives was excellent. Grade: B+
When Isaac Redman started the season averaging 2.something yards a carry much of Steelers Nation knew, he could do better. Against the Giants he proved it, barreling through the line for 147 yards including the go ahead touchdown and an impressive 28 yard burst to kill the clock. What those numbers do not reveal is that Redman consistently refused to be taken down on the first hit, and added yards and inflicted punishment with each extra effort. Neither Baron Batch, nor Chris Rainey, nor Will Johnson did much with their carries, but the team didn’t need them to. Grade: A
Mike Wallace decisively demonstrated the value of a receiver who can take it to the house on any given play. Emmanuel Sanders only had two catches – but guess what? His first put the Steelers ahead by 7, and his second iced the game by converting on 3rd and 9 with the Steelers needing to kill the clock. Not bad. Jerricho Cotchery and Heath Miller claimed 4 balls, and Antonio Brown caught two before leaving injured. Grade: A-
There was good in bad for this group. Mike Adams appeared to struggle in pass protection and in general the line’s pass blocking was a notch below what it has been thus far this year. On the flip side, this unit’s run blocking is improving to the point where it is getting scary. Now that Willie Colon has settled into his spot a guard, the only question is why did Bruce Arians balk at moving him there? Grade: B
Brett Keisel led the unit with 4 tackles. Casey Hamptonhelped set the tone by making the Steelers first tackle of the 4thquarter for a loss. Ziggy Hood had one tackle. This unit did not wrack up a lot on the stat sheet but neither did anyone on the offense. And that’s the point, and it all starts up front. Grade: B
Larry Foote led the unit with 7 tackles. James Harrison isn’t making a lot of “splash” plays, but he is winning his 1-1 match ups, which is making everyone else look a lot better. The Giant’s 4thquarter drives were bookended by Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley sacks. Grade: B+
Ryan Clark led the team in tackles including one for a loss that helped force a Giants field goal. Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, and CortezAllen all registered passes defensed while Ryan Mundy kept his name from being mentioned for the wrong reasons.
New York went an abysmal was 2-11 on third downs, and that only happens if the Steelers secondary is doing a lot of things right. Grade: A-
By the time the game was over, the Steelers were down to their third string return man, but Emmanuel Sanders delivered, with a 63 yard kickoff return and an 11 yard punt return. Chris Rainey also turned in returns of 51 and 30 yards. Although the coaches rather than the players deserve criticism for the botched fake field goal attempt, the kicking team nonetheless came up short, dropping the grade just a smidge. Grade: A-
The Steelers were traveling on the same day of the game, playing against the Super Bowl Champions on the road, lost their number two receiver, and were playing again with only one of their starting caliber running backs. But The Standard Remained the Standard. Mike Tomlin had his team focused, and both of his coordinators deployed excellent game plans. Amos Jonesmanaged limit (most) of the penalties that have plagued his unit and in turn the return game delivered results. The fake field goal call was a mistake, however. Grade: B+
His play hasn’t always been consistent this year, but against the Giants he was all over the field, dropping people in the backfield, getting in Eli Manning’s face, and getting to the quarterback when it counted and for that Lawrence Timmons is Steel Curtain Rising’s Unsung Hero for the victory over the Giants.