Another week in the books and even more problems for the Pittsburgh Steelers as things didn’t go very well on either side of the ball Monday night as the black-and-gold dropped to 0-2 on the young season with a 20-10 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Through two weeks there aren’t many positives to go around but let’s see if there are any as I hand out my Week 2 grades.
Quarterback: The offense seemed to move well when Ben Roethlisberger was allowed to speed up the game, but unfortunately that didn’t happen nearly enough. It wasn’t a terrible game for Roethlisberger, who finished 20-of-37 for 251 yards with a touchdown and a pick. However he didn’t start well and the offense didn’t develop any rhythm as Big Ben was battered all game long. The interception was a killer and even though he completed all five attempts on the touchdown drive, the bottom line is that this offense has scored just 19 points in two games. Grade C-
Running Backs: Another disappointing effort, running for just 43 yards on 14 carries (3.07 ypc), led by Felix Jones who averaged 3.7 yards per carry on 10 carries. Instead of playing to his quarterback’s strengths, Todd Haley wanted to pound the ball early, running on the first three plays of the game which wasn’t an ideal start. A big play came in the third quarter when Isaac Redman was stopped on a third-and-two play. The problem is these guys just can’t get the job done. Grade: D-
Wide Receivers: Emmanuel Sanders can’t get separation from defenders down the field which makes the Steelers letting Mike Wallace walk look even worse. In addition Sanders and Antonio Brown did not get involved in the offense until it was too late. The duo did combine for 11 receptions for 135 yards, but none of that was impactful. Jerricho Cotchery was targeted nine times on the night, only catching three passes and had his hands on the ball that was intercepted. It would have been a tough catch and the ball was high and behind him, but it is a play that has to be made. Tight end David Paulson got involved in the passing game this week, but also had a costly fumble. Overall the receiving core did very little to impact the game. Grade: D-
Offensive Line: For the second consecutive week this line has gotten no push in the run game and while Roethlisberger was sacked only twice, he was under pressure all game long. It was simply just another unacceptable performance. Grade: D