Saying the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Kansas City Chiefs was ugly is putting it mildly. But despite how bad it looked, a win is a win and for the Steelers that means four in a row.
However this win, in sloppy conditions came with a price as both Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder) and Ryan Clark (concussion) went down with injuries.
As the Steelers now have a short week before facing Baltimore next Sunday night, here’s a look at how they graded out across the field.
Quarterback- Roethlisberger got off to a very slow start, but rallied to get the game tied before halftime. Then Byron Leftwich came in and went a very ugly 7-for-17 for 73 yards, but made a couple big fourth quarter completions. Luckily a replay review overturned a fumble for a touchdown. This is the first time all season the quarterback position grades below a B as I had no confidence that Leftwich could move the team in overtime. Grade: C-
Running Backs- Isaac Redman’s fumble was costly but the defense bailed him out as it only cost the Steelers three points. They ran for only 95 yards on the night, averaging only 3.3 yards per carry, with 14 of that coming on a Roethlisberger scramble. Jonathan Dwyer led the team with 56 yards rushing, but still only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. Grade: C
Wide Receivers- The loss of Antonio Brown was felt as no one was able to step up. Some of that could be due to Big Ben leaving the game, but Mike Wallace had only three catches for 14 yards, although one was a spectacular touchdown reception. Emmanuel Sanders had only two catches, but one was a big one on the go-ahead drive. Heath Miller had four catches early but was silent after that. I am attributing much of that to the fact that Roethlisberger got hurt, so their grade won’t be affected. Grade: C
Offensive Line- Did anyone block Derrick Johnson all game? The Kansas City linebacker was all over the field making plays. That powerful Steelers ground game from the past three weeks was non-existent as the Steelers running backs averaged only 2.85 yards per carry. They allowed only one sack but ultimately they allowed enough pressure to get their franchise quarterback hurt. Willie Colon’s double penalty in the first quarter didn’t help any either. Grade: C-
Defensive Line- Brett Keisel had a huge game with eight tackles and a pair of sacks. That defensive front was getting gashed early on by the run, but made the appropriate adjustments midway through the first half. The Chiefs still averaged 4.1 yards per carry, gaining 142 yards on the ground, but overall it was a good day for the front three. Grade: B+
Linebackers- LaMarr Woodley made the play of the game in the second quarter when he helped stuff Jamal Charles on a third-and-goal play. If the Steelers allow the Chiefs to get into the end zone there they lose the game. Lawrence Timmons was all over the place as well and his interception not only sealed the game, but also was the first time the Steelers got a turnover against a team that led the league with 29 giveaways coming in. It’s funny that Timmons was the one to make the play, because he came close to being the goat as he missed the tackle on Dwyane Bowe’s go-ahead touchdown that was eventually called back by penalty. Grade: B+
Secondary- Clark had a great game, but continues to lead with his head and now could be out of the lineup because of it. As a whole though, the secondary allowed Cassel only seven completions for 92 yards until the last drive when he completed four passes for 62 yards to send the game into overtime. Overall though, a very good day. Grade: B+
Special Teams- Drew Butler and Shaun Suisham had solid days kicking the ball, but the return game was non-existent. Some of that could be because Brown is out of the lineup and some could have been the conditions. Grade: B
Coaching- Timmons’ big play got everyone off the hook, but when the defense needed a stop to seal the game, it didn’t deliver and looked more like the defense that cost the Steelers three games this season. The offense struggled early against a team that has allowed 30 points per game. The ground game couldn’t be leaned on and without Roethlisberger, you had to hold your breath and hope for the best every time the Steelers passed the ball. The most disturbing thing is the Steelers came out flat on a Monday night home game. That’s on the coaching staff. Grade: C-