The Pittsburgh Steelers week 10 positional grades don’t reflect what one would expect from the winning team. Although the Steelers defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 20-17, the team as whole performed poorly and looked out of sync. Antonio Brown had possibly his worst performance of the season and the entire defense had trouble making tackles.
Pittsburgh Steelers Week 10 Positional Grades
Ben Roethlisberger had an average performance, but against one of the worst defenses in the NFL, fans were expecting more. Roethlisberger began the game a bit shaky as he threw an interception on a deep throw to Martavis Bryant. Perhaps the Steelers were trying to get Bryant involved early after missing a game due to being suspended for comments on social media, but Roethlisberger underthrew Bryant by a considerable margin.
Roethlisberger calmed down though and managed to get the victory, but he’ll need to be a bit more productive moving forward if the Steelers want to make a playoff run. Roethlisberger finished with 236 yards and completed 19 out of 31 passes. He threw two touchdown passes to go along with the interception.
Running Backs: B-
Le’Veon Bell also had an underwhelming performance. Bell gained just 80 yards on 26 carries for an average of 3.1 yards per carry. Bell showed some flashes of nice runs, but struggled to get any sort of momentum going. Not all the blame can be placed on Bell though as the offensive line also struggled.
Bell also caught five catches for 32 yards. James Conner carried the ball once for a nice off-tackle run to the left side for 12 yards.
Wide Receivers: B-
Antonio Brown had an extremely important catch late in the game that led to the game-winning field goal by Chris Boswell, but other than that, he didn’t do much. Brown finished with only three catches on seven targets for 47 yards.
JuJu Smith-Schuster continues his hot streak and led the receiving corps with five catches on seven targets for 97 yards and a touchdown. Bryant also made some crucial catches late in the game, but under-performed with three catches on five targets for 42 yards. Eli Rogers added one catch for two yards.
Tight Ends: B-
Jesse James didn’t make any catches in the game, but he made a potentially game-saving tackle when he ran down the Colts ball-carrier after the Steelers extra point attempt was blocked. Vance McDonald finally made an impact by catching a touchdown pass that cut the Colts lead to two and eventually led to the Steelers tying the game with a two-point conversion.
Offensive Linemen: C
The offensive line was finally completely healthy against the Colts as starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert returned to the lineup from an injury. However, the offensive line struggled to open any running room for Bell while left guard Ramon Foster allowed Roethlisberger to get sacked. While one sack isn’t that big of a deal, the Steelers lack of a running game is, and the offensive line will need to step it up moving forward.
Defensive Linemen: B
Continuing their trend of being the top position group on the Steelers, the defensive line once again led the way for the defense. Stephon Tuitt returned to the starting lineup and made his presence felt with three tackles for losses including a sack.
Cameron Heyward added two tackles and two hits on Jacoby Brissett, while Tyson Alualu added another tackle. Javon Hargrave was held off of the stat sheet, but continued to cause penetration into the opposing offense’s backfield.
Bud Dupree missed some key tackles in this game, but he made an impact in the pass rush with three tackles for losses including a sack. Ryan Shazier made possibly the play of the game by intercepting a pass that was intended for tight end Jack Doyle. Shazier started the play by blitzing, but quickly reacted to Doyle releasing his block and going out for a pass. Shazier turned his body immediately and intercepted the pass with one hand while he was off-balance.
Shazier also added five tackles and Vince Williams recorded a sack along with five tackles. All in all, the linebackers struggled to bring down the Colts ball carriers and allowed a lot of short yardage completions over the middle of the field. They’ll need to tighten up their coverage and start wrapping up opponents more successfully.
Joe Haden broke his fibula in this game and is expected to miss at least six weeks. His replacement, Coty Sensabaugh seemed lost in coverage and struggled to cover Colts receivers all game long. On top of him struggling, Artie Burns was burnt badly by Donte Moncrief on a double move that led to a 60-yard touchdown reception.
Moving forward, Sensabaugh will need to improve or he’ll likely be replaced by veteran cornerback William Gay. Rookie Cameron Sutton can be activated from the injured reserve in two weeks, so expect the Steelers to also try him out as a potential replacement for Haden.
Sensabaugh and Mike Hilton both had three tackles, Burns had two and Gay had one.
Mike Mitchell also left the game with an injury, but so far, it doesn’t seem to be as serious as Haden’s. Sean Davis led the Steelers in tackles with eight, but didn’t make any game-changing plays. Davis and Mitchell both continue to be solid and consistent. Hopefully Mitchell won’t miss an extended amount of action.
Mitchell finished with four tackles.