For each week, we will be looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers performance and break it down by position. The week two, home victory over the Minnesota Vikings 26-9 provided a myriad of Steelers positional grades on offense, and a resounding A on defense.
Week Two Pittsburgh Steelers Positional Grades
Ben Roethlisberger finished with 243 yards passing and two touchdowns. Roethlisberger completed 23 passes on 35 attempts. Most importantly, he didn’t throw any interceptions this week.
Roethlisberger seemed to be looking for the deep ball a lot, mainly because he didn’t have much time in the pocket. Six of his 12 incompletions were thrown in the direction of Antonio Brown, which makes one wonder if Roethlisberger is focusing on Brown a little too much.
Overall, Roethlisberger got the job done and did what was needed in order to secure the win.
Running Backs: C
Le’Veon Bell was hoping for some more action in week two after only carrying the ball ten times in week one. He got his carries, but didn’t have much to show for them. Bell carried the ball 27 times for 87 yards, giving him an average of 3.2 yards per carry.
Bell was dealing with one of the premier defenses in the NFL and didn’t get much help from his blockers; but still, the Steelers are surely expecting more out of him. Expect Bell to break out in week three against the Chicago Bears.
Wide Receivers: B
Antonio Brown led the way once again for the Steelers wide receivers. Brown had five catches on 11 targets for 62 yards. Martavis Bryant looked much better than he did in week one, catching a 27 yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger. He also caught a 51 yard pass on an offside penalty against the Vikings.
Tight Ends: B+
Vance McDonald was inactive for this game, which left the workload to Jesse James and Xavier Grimble. James carried the bulk of the workload and did a good job for being Roethlisberger’s only reliable target at tight end.
James finished with four catches on five targets for 27 yards. While he didn’t put up big numbers, James was crucial to getting first downs and helping chip-block the Vikings pass rushers.
Offensive Linemen: C-
The Steelers weakest link through two games is undoubtedly the offensive line. On top of only gaining 102 rushing yards, the offensive line also allowed two sacks on Roethlisberger.
Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Ramon Foster are supposed to be some of the best interior linemen in the NFL, but 3.2 yards per carry doesn’t cut it. Fans were disappointed with Bell’s performance, but ultimately, the offensive line has to step it up in order to get the running game going.
Defensive Linemen: A-
The defensive line looked excellent against the Vikings. Javon Hargrave didn’t record any tackles, but was constantly applying pressure to Case Keenum. Cameron Heyward led the way with six tackles, and 1.5 tackles for a loss.
Tyson Alualu was probably the best off-season acquisition that the Steelers made. As Stephon Tuitt was out with a biceps injury, Alualu stepped in and filled the void. The defensive line didn’t miss a beat. Alualu added three tackles and the Vikings were only able to rush for 91 yards.
After T.J. Watt exited the game with a groin injury, many were surprised to see Anthony Chickillo replace him instead of James Harrison. Chickillo didn’t disappoint, finishing with five tackles and a half tackle for a loss.
Ryan Shazier led the way with eight tackles and Vince Williams added four tackles and a sack. Bud Dupree made his first start of the season and seemed to be creating pressure constantly. He finished with two tackles and a sack. Watt had two tackles and a half tackle for a loss before he left the game.
The Steelers secondary looked much better than they did in week one, holding the Vikings to only 146 passing yards for an average of 3.7 yards per passing play.
Mike Hilton caused chaos by moving all over the field by lining up in the box, outside and in the slot. He finished with nine tackles which led the team. Stefon Diggs was held to only two catches for 27 yards just a week after he torched the New Orleans Saints defense for two touchdowns.
William Gay added three tackles. Artie Burns also had three tackles and one tackle for a loss. Joe Haden finished with just one tackle, but continues to look more and more comfortable in the Steelers zone defense.
Mitchell had two tackles and broke up a crucial deep pass to Kyle Rudolph.
Special Teams: A-
There weren’t any memorable kick or punt returns in this game, but Chris Boswell made all four of the field goals that he attempted. Boswell was responsible for 14 of the Steelers 26 points.
Tyler Matakevich made another key play on special teams a week after he blocked a punt that led to a defensive touchdown. The Vikings decided to try a fake punt, but Matakevich was in perfect position and broke up the “lame duck” pass thrown by the punter.
Jordan Berry punted five times for an average of 38.6 yards. His longest punt was 46 yards and he downed two punts inside of the 20-yard line.