Pittsburgh Steelers’ Report Card After Loss vs. Bengals


Another week, another disappointment for the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers.

This time however the script was different as the Steelers’ defense played great and their offense let them down.

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws under pressure from Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, there will be no postseason for Mike Tomlin’s team, just plenty of questions.

With that being said, let’s take a look at this week’s report card.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger played his worst game of the season. He was an MVP candidate before his injury and for the second consecutive game his final pass was intercepted and led to the game-winning field goal. He was sacked four times, converted 2 of 14 third-down chances, threw a pick six and never looked comfortable. The only bright spot was a 60-yard TD pass at the end of the first half, as he continues to excel in the two-minute drill. Grade: D

Running Backs: The Steelers ran 31 times for only 95 yards. Rashard Mendenhall gave them a lift, carrying the rock 11 times for 50 yards, but the team still averaged only three yards per carry. Grade: D

Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown had a decent day with five catches for 97 yards and a 60-yard touchdown. Heath Miller had one big catch and Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders were bottled up, each only catching one pass. Grade: D

Offensive Line: They again couldn’t run the ball and allowed a ton of pressure on their quarterback. Another poor performance. Grade: F

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) reacts after sacking Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line: Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton were outstanding all game. Benjarvis Green-Ellis came into the game with four 100-yard games in his past five, yet gained only 14 yards on 15 carries. Grade: A+

Linebackers: Lawrence Timmons was all over the place and had a pair of sacks and 10 tackles. James Harrison also had one of the Steelers’ six sacks on the day. They played the run outstanding and were making plays for a change. Grade: A

Secondary: Cortez Allen picked off a pair of passes and forced a fumble that Ryan Clark recovered. Troy Polamalu had a rare sack from the secondary. But all was not good as Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton attacked the Steelers’ secondary, throwing for 278 yards, including five completions for over 20 yards. In addition A.J. Green had 10 catches for 116 yards, including a crucial 21-yard reception that set up the game-winning field goal. Grade: C+

Special Teams: The Steelers’ special teams have killed them all season, so why would Sunday be any different? This time it was Mr. Automatic Shaun Suisham who let them down. Suisham missed one field goal all season but missed two on Sunday. Of course one was a bad snap and the other shouldn’t have been attempted, but they were misses nonetheless. They also allowed another huge punt return, but caught a break when it was called back because of penalty. Grade: F

Coaching: Other than trying a 53-yard field goal, Tomlin didn’t do much worth criticizing. Dick LeBeau’s defense was very good, but Todd Haley’s offense looked awful once again. That’s five losses in six games. The reality is that this game didn’t end the Steelers’ season. They were done a long time ago.