The Pittsburgh Steelers kept their playoff dreams alive on Sunday with a big win over the Cincinnati Bengals. In a game where there was more than likely more pushing and shoving than play-calling, the Steelers managed to go into Paul Brown Stadium and pull out a 33-20 win.
The Steelers were mostly consistent throughout the game on both sides of the ball. But how consistent were they? Here are my grades for the Steelers Week 14 win over the Bengals.
Quarterback- Ben Roethlisberger didn’t have a flashy day, but he didn’t really need to. After coming off a big four-touchdown game over the Colts last week, Roethlisberger didn’t throw any touchdowns this week. However, he was solid in the passing game, throwing 30/39 completed passes for 282 yards. Roethlisberger did throw one interception to Bengals free safety Reggie Nelson. Grade: B+
Running Backs– DeAngelo Williams, one of the Steelers most solid player in recent weeks, kept his good form against a tough Bengals defense. Williams rushed 23 times for 76 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also got a few key first downs for the Steelers when called upon. Grade: A
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends– Although no touchdowns were scored by any of the receivers, they all played key in getting down the field and getting into the red zone. Antonio Brown led the receiving corps with seven catches for 87 yards. Markus Wheaton, Roethlisberger’s recent “go-to” guy had the biggest catch of the day on a big 31 yard catch from his quarterback. Also playing a major role was Heath Miller, but mostly in the run game with big blocks for Williams. Grade: B+
Offensive Line- The Steelers offensive line had another solid week. The line only gave up two sacks on Roethlisberger and came in clutch when Williams rushed twice into the end zone. Grade: A
Defensive Line– The defensive line was superb against the Bengals rushing game. The defense held Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill to a combined 56 yards on the ground. The defensive line also picked up two sacks, one by Cameron Heyward and another shared by Daniel McCullers and Vince Williams. Grade: A+
Secondary- Once again, Brandon Boykin finally saw action on defense, and he finished the day off with three tackles and one assisted tackle. Also happening once again this week was William Gay making himself known to opposing quarterbacks, as he caught A.J. McCarron’s interception and returned 23-yards it for a touchdown. Grabbing McCarron’s second interception of the game was strong safety Robert Golden. Grade: B
Special Teams- No more Jacoby Jones made the Steelers special teams successful once again. Brown took over punt returns while Wheaton handled the kickoff returns. In the kicking game, punter Jordan Berry had two great punts, with one putting the Bengals on their own two yard line. Chris Boswell also had another big day, converting 4/4 field goals and 3/3 extra points, proving to the Steelers why he should have some competition with Shaun Suisham. Grade: A
Coaching– The coaching staff for the Steelers certainly helped with the win. Todd Haley’s calls of giving the ball to DeAngelo Williams in the red zone certainly helped earn the two touchdowns. Tomlin didn’t make the mistake of putting Jones in on special teams and finally listened to fans who pleaded for Brandon Boykin, as he was put in once again. Overall, the entire team had a strong outing in Cincinnati. Grade: A