The Pittsburgh Steelers bounced back nicely from their Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos, turning in a complete effort in a 27-10 victory over the New York Jets in front of a packed house at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon.
As I will do every week of the season, here’s a look at my complete grades for every position on the field.
Ben Roethlisberger was extremely efficient, completing 24 of his 31 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception. He was the key to an offense that racked up 331 total yards and 21 first downs. Big Ben extended plays and as usual, didn’t buckle in the face of pressure. Excellent afternoon for Roethlisberger. Grade: A
Jonathan Dwyer led the Steelers offense with only 28 yards rushing and as a team the Steelers averaged less than three yards per carry for the second consecutive week. Their 2.4 per-carry average against the Jets was down from the 2.9 they averaged against Denver. The duo of Dwyer and Isaac Redman did save their best for the fourth quarter though helping run time off the clock. That was the silver lining on what turned out to be another lousy effort on the ground. Grade: C
Ten different people caught a Roethlisberger pass led by Antonio Brown who had seven catches for 79 yards. Mike Wallace added five for 74, including a 37-yard touchdown. With Darrelle Revis out for the Jets, the game plan was to involve Brown (targeted 10 times) and Wallace (five targets) and it worked out well. Grade: A
The unit of Max Starks-Willie Colon-Maurkice Pouncey-Ramon Foster-Marcus Gilbert was much improved from a week ago; Starks did an admirable job protecting Roethlisberger’s blind side as he was only sacked three times for 10 yards on the day. But while the interior line did not do a good job creating holes and running lanes, they didn’t make many glaring mistakes either. Not a great performance, but much better. Grade: C+
The rotation of Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Ziggy Hood, Steve McClendon and Cam Heyward played pretty well. The Jets rushed for only 90 yards on the day and Heyward recorded his second career sack. Keisel was also in on five tackles. These guys don’t get a lot of credit normally, but they played a very good ballgame. Grade: B+
LaMarr Woodley had a sack and applied constant pressure from the edge. Larry Foote had another good game with seven tackles, and Lawrence Timmons had another solid afternoon as well. This unit was missing James Harrison, but while Chris Carter and Brandon Johnson didn’t do anything significant on the stat sheet, they didn’t do anything costly either. Grade: B+
This unit was without Troy Polamalu but welcomed Ryan Clark back, who was very good. They tightened up after the Jets first drive where Mark Sanchez pretty much moved the Jets down the field at will. Ike Taylor played well in the first half, but got better throughout. He drew the primary assignment on Santonio Holmes, who was targeted 11 times and only had three catches. On the day, the Steelers’ secondary held the Jets to only 129 yards passing. That’s a good afternoon. Grade: A-
Shaun Suisham and Drew Butler were very good again, but the Steelers return game once again had no impact. However, DeMarcus Van Dyke caused the only turnover of the game on special teams when he caused the Jets’ Jeremy Kerley to muff a punt. Grade: B+
Mike Tomlin had his team ready to bounce back and they did exactly that. Todd Haley did a much better job calling plays and didn’t put his quarterback in bad spots as often as he did in Week 1, and the Steelers held a 36:36-23:24 edge in time of possession. Dick LeBeau’s defense adjusted and shut out the Jets in the second half.
Overall it was a very good day for the Steelers and their coaching staff. The Steelers took care of the ball and didn’t turn it over. Not that this is on the coaches, but other than the rushing yards, the only other negative number that sticks out was the 10 penalties for 103 yards. Grade: A-