The Pittsburgh Steelers made a statement Sunday at Heinz Field against the Baltimore Ravens.
That statement reads: “We may not be dead just yet.”
A 19-16 victory against their AFC North rivals gave the Steelers a second consecutive win, and they showed enough on both sides of the ball to give their fans a glimmer of hope going forward. Let’s take a look at how each position graded out against the Ravens:
Quarterback: I may be overestimating the game that Ben Roethlisberger had, especially since he only threw for 160 yards and didn’t complete a pass over 20 yards on the day. But he didn’t turn the ball over for the second consecutive week and when Big Ben takes care of the ball, he is good enough to beat any team in the league on any given Sunday, something he did when he led the Steelers on the game-winning field-goal drive. He made good decisions and even made a few plays with his legs. No complaints at all about Big Ben’s afternoon. Grade: B
Running Backs: Was that a running game the Steelers had? It’s been so long since I have seen effective running that I didn’t know how to react. You had to like the job that rookie Le’Veon Bell did as he gained 68 of his 93 yards in the first half and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. The Steelers running game had a bit of everything on Sunday, which included Bell making some plays out of the Wildcat formation and Jonathan Dwyer converting a third-and-short situation. They ran for over 100 yards as a team and the running backs averaged a combined 4.52 yards per carry. I will take that. Grade: B+
Wide Receivers: It wasn’t a great day for any of the receivers, but they all made some plays, including Antonio Brown – who had only six catches f0r 50 yards on the day – making two big plays on the Steelers’ final drive. However there were more negatives than positives, including a fumble by Heath Miller, a dropped touchdown by Derrick Moye and another overall quiet game from Emmanuel Sanders. Grade: C
Offensive Line: If you would have told me at the beginning of training camp that the Steelers would be taking on the Ravens with Guy Whimper at right tackle and Kelvin Beachum at left tackle, I wouldn’t have given the Steelers much of a chance. But the offensive line turned in their best performance of the season and started to look like a cohesive unit. They gained more yards rushing in the first half (82), then they had in any previous game and finished with 141 yards on 29 carries while allowing only three sacks against the team with the third-most sacks in the NFL coming in. Is this a sign of things to come? Grade: A-