During an NFL season, losses are going to happen. It’s the games that should have been won that come back to sting the most. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing how they did to Baltimore and last weekend to Kansas City, they may in the end, wish they could have those games back. Playing against a team that was 1-5 coming in, Pittsburgh did not play in their typical fashion as they lost to the Chiefs 23-13.
Quarterback: Landry Jones got his first start with Big Ben Roethlisberger staring over his shoulder wanting to play despite being on the sidelines in street clothes. For what it’s worth, it was still a much starter decision to start Jones over Michael Vick even if Vick would have been healthy enough to play. C.
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Running backs: A solid day for Le’Veon Bell. He did what he was supposed to. A.
Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown finally had his best game since Ben Roethlisberger was forced out of the lineup. Overall, this unit made some great grabs but it was the interception off of Brown’s hands that bring this grade down a notch. C+.
Tight End: Heads were being scratched in trying to figure out why #83’s number was not called. Always a weapon, consistently good for moving the chains, Heath Miller did not make one catch. The question remains…WHY? The resulting grade is more fault of Todd Haley rather than Miller. D.
Offensive Line: With Alejandro Villanueva making his first start in place of the injured Kelvin Beachum, the offensive lineman did well. If you didn’t catch the shot of him standing next to Le’Veon Bell in the huddle, he made Bell look small. Bell is not small, which means Villanueva is that big! Nonetheless, the o-line could have played a little better but they were hardly a factor in the loss. B+.
Kicker: Chris Boswell has yet to miss a field goal since joining the Steelers. How can anyone complain about that? A+.
Defensive Line: The defense on a whole will shoulder the blame for this loss. Kansas City’s pocket was not crashed enough and that responsibility mostly falls on the men up front when the blitz is not on. C-.
Linebackers: Everyone could not wait until Ryan Shazier returned given his performance he had just before getting hurt. In Kansas City, he did not turn in a lights out performance but he and his linebacking mates simply allowed too many rushing yards and made too many missed tackles.
Safeties: Last year, Mike Mitchell was ostracized by Steelers Nation for his season performance. This season he has turned it around and is playing much better. Perhaps it was a learning curve. Robert Golden looks pretty comfortable out there and is also playing rather well. Still, the secondary had issues stopping Travis Kelce. There wasn’t huge plays from the Chiefs to talk about, just enough small passing plays to get Kansas City into the win column. C+.
Cornerbacks: William Gay is playing much quieter this year. Losing Cortez Allen for the season is a big loss. Will the day ever arrive when the Steelers find themselves a solid, shut-down corner who can stay healthy and defend? Where is the Steelers’ next Rod Woodson? C-.
Punter: Only called up on twice in Kansas City, Jordan Berry averaged 45.8. Solid. A.
Coaching: Coaches and football analysts alike will tell you coaches coach but players play. So when a poor game is played without solid execution, is that the player’s fault? After all, they are making the plays. The belief here is that responsibility still lies with the coaching staff to make sure the Steelers are ready, prepared, and knowledgable of what to expect from an opponent. That didn’t happen last weekend and Pittsburgh lost. D.
Intangibles: Another paper game lost on the field. Compare the two teams and Pittsburgh would probably win this game every time. Play it on the field and it comes down to doing what you do best. The Steelers did not do that. F.
Overall grade: This game like the Ravens game, could come back to haunt the Steelers. It was just a lackluster performance and the Steelers seemed to be playing unemotional football. D.