The Pittsburgh Steelers rally Thanksgiving night fell short in their 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and as a result the playoff odds took a serious hit.
The Steelers didn’t make enough plays early on and dug themselves too big of a hole in what turned out to be the usual hard-hitting matchup between the two AFC North rivals.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how the Steelers graded out at each position in my weekly report card.
Quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger played well enough to win, finishing the game 28-of-44 for 257 yards and a pair of scores, posting a 94.6 quarterback rating. Big Ben once again led the Steelers comeback and was impressive doing so, going 8-of-11 for 94 yards on the final scoring drive. Roethlisberger started slow, throwing for only 78 yards in the first half, but played pretty well bringing the Steelers back in the second.
He also became the first Steelers player with 20 passing touchdowns in five different seasons. Roethlisberger now has 211 career touchdown passes, one shy of Terry Bradshaw’s Steelers record. Grade: B+
Running Backs: The Steelers needed a big play to spark them and Le’Veon Bell delivered with a 43-yard run to set up the Steelers first touchdown. The rookie was bottled up early, gaining only 21 yards in the first half, but Bell ended the night with 136 combined yards. Hopefully he responds well after taking a big shot and losing his helmet at the end of the game. Grade: B-
Wide Receivers: Tight end Heath Miller led the team with eight catches for 86 yards. However the Ravens did a good job containing Antonio Brown, who had only 59 yards receiving. Despite catching a touchdown and foolishly doing Ray Lewis’ dance, Emmanuel Sanders continues to leave plays on the field and keeps proving he’s not capable of being a legitimate No. 2 NFL receiver. His drop on the two-point conversion was a killer. It was a tough catch, but one he has to make. Grade: C
Offensive Line: The offensive line struggled big time in the first half as the Steelers couldn’t run the ball at all, but the front five picked it up in the second half by opening some nice holes. Bell averaged 4.6 yards per carry so that’s a nice effort. In addition Big Ben was not sacked for the second week in a row. It was a nice performance considering the lost Kelvin Beachum (who did a nice job on Terrell Suggs), Mike Adams and Fernando Velasco to injury in the fourth quarter. Grade: B+