A win is a win, right? A win can be a victory on the scoreboard. In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 12-6 decision over the St. Louis Rams last weekend was also a loss.
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- Steelers: Quarterback Breakdown, Grades
Losing Ben Roethlisberger for 4-6 weeks makes it impossible to give a full grade on his performance last weekend. Therefore, this week will provide two quarterback grades.
Quarterback: Up until he was injured, Big Ben was having a solid day but could not get the offense into the end zone more than once. He had chances, but could not capitalize. Grade: B-
Mike Vick comes in and the offense turns almost entirely to the run game. Protecting a lead or caution in fear of a major mistake by Vick? The thinking here is the latter. Vick gets an incomplete grade as well. He was not that impressive. Let’s see what goes down this Thursday. Grade: C
Running backs: The return of Le’Veon Bell was impressive. He rendered DeAngelo Williams to the bench but the two should be seeing more action together with Roethlisberger out. For a season debut, Bell did more than some may have expected. Grade: B+.
Wide receivers: Antonio Brown was doing his thing and Heath Miller and Markus Wheaton were chipping in. Then came the injury and the air game nearly went silent. That was no fault of the receivers. Grade: A.
Tight ends: Without Ben will probably result in less production from Heath Miller and that’s a shame. Expect more blocking from Heath Miller. Grade: C+.
Offensive line: Not as good in pass protection from one week before and seeing Aaron Donald across the line of scrimmage did not help the Steelers offensive line in this game. Five sacks allowed does not cut it Grade: C-.
Kicker: Why is it Steelers fans feel the need to hold their breath or cringe when Josh Scobee lines up for a field goal attempt?
Probably because of the previously missed field goals and an extra point attempt. Scobee needs to start building some confidence in himself and with Steelers Nation. Where are you Shaun Suisham? Grade: C-.
Defensive line: Solid job up front for the Pittsburgh defensive line. This week it was Stephen Tuitt who starred on defense. Last week was Ryan Shazier and this week a player on the front lines made some of the biggest plays. Grade: B.
Linebackers: It would have been nice to see Ryan Shazier out there for a follow-up to last week. But Lawrence Timmons began making the plays fans are accustomed to from him and Arthur Moats turned in his normal lunch pail performance.
With Shazier out, Sean Spence filled in and came away with five tackles. Grade: B+.
Cornerbacks: For so long, this area has been the Steelers’ Achilles Heal. But the last two seasons have actually seen solid performances. William Gay is showing that despite being a long-time veteran, he still has game. Antwon Blake is holding his own. Grade: C+.
Punter: Steelers fans are quickly falling in love with Jordan Berry. With a long punt of 57 yards last Sunday and on four attempts averaged 49.0 per, the hang time that got so much attention during training camp has been on full display. Two of those punts landed inside the 20. Mike Tomlin made the right decision on choosing a punter. Grade: A+.
Intangibles: Going into the game, it appeared the Steelers had a chance for a blowout. But the offense just could not light off any fireworks unlike the field that caught fire in the Rams introductions that caused a 25 minute delay to the start of the game.
That could have been a bad omen for Big Ben who ended up hurt and out for over a month. But the rest of the team did not allow that to distract them from what needed to be done and did enough to secure a win. Grade: A-.
Coaching: Mike Tomlin did a great job keeping his team in check when their biggest offensive star got hurt. There were no questionable calls on offense or defense and the game plan resulted in just what Tomlin wanted…a win. Grade: B+.
Overall grade: Steelers fans have been spoiled with a potent offense so each week they now expect at least three touchdowns or more. But Steelers Nation also cares more about wins and not stats.
Give the city of Pittsburgh another Lombardi and they will quickly forget how they earned it. So by winning 12-6 and scoring just a single touchdown is no big deal to diehard Steelers fans when it goes in the “W” column. Grade: B.