Pittsburgh Steelers Report Card Roundup Over Cincinnati Bengals


The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) closed out the season on Sunday by claiming their first AFC North Division title since 2010 when they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 27-17 at Heinz Field.

However the victory came with a cost as Le’Veon Bell hyper-extended his right knee in the third quarter when he was hit low by Bengals safety Reggie Nelson after catching a pass out of the backfield.

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The Black and Gold on Tuesday signed running back Ben Tate, 26, as a backup plan with the possibility that Bell can not go on Saturday night in the wild card game against the Baltimore Ravens (10-6). The 5-foot-10, 220-pound rusher out of Auburn played eight games with the Cleveland Browns and three with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He contributed for 371 yards on 119 carries.

Before we sing auld lang syne, it is that time again to check in on press row to see what grades the experts gave Pittsburgh for their efforts against Cincinnati.

Behind The Steel Curtain / SBNation – Neal Coolong thought the performance of outside linebacker Jason Worilds was one of the difference-makers in the contest.

Bleacher Report – Mike Batista awarded quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a B as he further proved his durability by battling through sickness with a winner performance.

CBS Local – Christina Rivers gave the coaching staff a B- as they made the adjustments necessary to get the victory and move the team into home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

ESPN – Chris Brown liked how the offensive line did not allow a sack and provided solid protection on the night. He gave them a B- because they did not impose their will in establishing the ground game.

FirstStopFantasy.com The writers at FirstStop presented the defensive line an A, and likes how Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward got the job done over the final weeks of the regular-season.

NFL.com – Elliot Harrison graded out Pittsburgh’s overall performance against the Bengals at B+ in Week 17.

Pittsburgh Sporting News – Matt Shetler gave the secondary an A as Brice McCain and Antwan Blake combined to contribute three turnovers against the Bengals.

Post-Gazette – Gerry Dulac likes the fact that Antonio Brown saved the best for last as he became the first Steelers receiver to lead the NFL in receptions with 129 and receiving yards.

How would you grade the Steelers in the season finale? How far can they go in the playoffs without Bell in the lineup? Let me know in the comments section below.

Up Next: It is time for the fans to enjoy one more home game as the Black and Gold open the playoffs at Heinz Field against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, Jan. 4. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on NBC.

The Steelers are 6-2 at home and 4-2 against the rest of the AFC North this season, while the Ravens are 4-4 on the road and 3-3 in the division.

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