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Steelers vs Titans Report Card

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers

By Tyler Sweet

Make it stop! Watching the Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 preseason was one of the most painful things to watch. That was, until I watched the game yesterday against the Tennessee Titans. Before we get into my grades for the game, let me just say that the loss of Maurkice Pouncey, LaRod Stephens-Howling, and Larry Foote are extremely unfortunate and a big blow to this team.

The grades I will put on an offensive and defensive unit throughout this season are based soley on the play on the field, with no hypothetical, “well if this guy were healthy” statements. As bad as they are, injuries remain a part of the game and there are no handicap points given out due to the loss of a key player. With that being said, lets take a look at the offensive unit.


The play calling of Todd Haley makes me scratch my head sometimes. Shotgun with four wide receivers on first down seems to be a Steeler staple the past few years and I have no idea why. I understand the running game is not exactly up to par with what fans want to see, but you have got to keep the defense guessing and respect the run game for what it is. With a first down interception, first down reverse, and multiple first down incomplete passes, it does nothing but kill the drive before it even starts. Even when he was not under pressure, Ben Roethlisberger missed several throws to his receivers and looked flustered and out of sync. When the Steelers managed to get inside the redzone on the first drive, Isaac Redman coughed the ball up into the endzone for a touchback. With only 195 total yards and only 32 of those coming via the run game, this was one of the worst offensive outings by the Steelers in recent memory. Offensive Grade: D- (One late touchdown away from an F)


The defense in my opinion played well. Despite not forcing a turnover, the defense held the Titans to a total of 229 yards. What played well into the Steelers favor is the fact that the Titans tend to lean on the run game more than the pass game. The explosive Chris Johnson was held to 70 yards on 25 carries. I will take that any day. What the defense struggled with was allowing a mediocre quarterback in Jake Locker to make plays in key situations down the field. It makes me nervous to think that if someone like Locker can pick apart the Steelers defensive secondary and put his team in field goal position consistently, what will Andy Dalton and A.J. Green be capable of doing next week. Lets not get ahead of ourselves. Too many plays given up on 3rd down, but overall, a good outing by the defense. Defensive Grade: B+

Special Teams

After an absolutely horrendous preseason, the special teams finally made a big play! In what may have been the fastest score in NFL history, Titans returner Darius Reynaud took a knee on the opening kickoff with his foot on the goaline, ultimately awarding the Steelers with a safety. Other than that, not too much to be excited or disappointed with. Special Teams Grade: C

These are my grades for week 1.  I would love to hear your opinions on both my grades and your grades for week 1.  Comment below or tweet us! @SteelersGab or @Tylersweet87



  1. mike

    September 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    offense – D – hard to agrue unless we cangive a J or a K. that was embarrassing.
    defense – B + hmmm could not stop them when had to, no turnovers and poor tackling at crucial times when could have stopped a few drives. gay’s 12 yard cushion on 3-8’s, and if tenn did not have some drive ending penaltys early on it may have been more lopsided scoring i think B+ too high even if held to low yards
    special teams C – cant reward our special teams with bonehead play by teen to give us 2 pts. now 2 penalties on punt return, wheton a KO return to 12 yard line, bad coverage on punt in our own end late in the game, no big returns, no punts pinning them deep in their end. i say was on the southern end of ho-hum and i say D or D+ at best
    coaching D- didnt adapt to anything, never could get anything going and schemes look like jr high play. tomlin says standard is the standard, when will he be held to NFL standard of coaching and get it together or get gone, his dafs have been nothing special, game management is nothing special, maximizing his players abilities is nothing special so basically he has become nothing special, not good enough in Pittsburgh. tired of the same old blah blah out of him

  2. DrGeorge

    September 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    First, a grade of C- to the SteelersGab staff for dumping all the comments on this site last week, failing to discuss the preseason games at all, and failing to report on our first loss until two days after the fact. What’s the problem, guys? Preseason got you down?

    Tyler, your grade for the offense is deserved. I have complained ad nausem about Tomlin’s failure to fix the line play on both sides of the ball for the past four years. On Sunday, that failing was self-evident. I won’t bore you with an “I told you so.” However, I think the media is unfair in blaming the running backs when the O-line is pushed back into the RB, or when there are no holes to run through, or when the RBs are tackled before they get started. Haley’s play calling doesn’t help. Running Redman wide is pointless, and play action is useless if you don’t have a running threat. Ben R. is not playing well either; he is missing open receivers, failing to throw the ball away when his protection breaks down, and his chest-high hand off to Redman was the cause of the goal line fumble. No one else should be blamed for that.

    The B grade for the Defense is inflated. Although the Defense held the Titans in check for most of the game, when it came to crunch time, the Titans ran through the D-line like Sherman on his march to the sea. It was embarrassing and inexcusable, and the team veterans said as much afterward. Give them an A for honesty — but a defense that struggles to stop the lowly Titans deserves no better than a C- for the quality of their play. Even so, the Defense held the Titans to 16 points. Any decent offense should score more than that. On the plus side,the Defense is showing small signs of improvement in the pass rush. Our replacement of the injured L. Foote with K. Wilson also seems a step in the right direction; Wilson may make youthful errors next week, but he has shown more grit than some of the veterans, and right now, this Defense needs more grit.

    Tomlin and his staff get a grade of D, not for this game alone, but for failing to prepare the team properly and failing to find adequate replacements for the veterans we lost, especially at offensive tackle and cornerback. Tomlin has shown he can coach a team when he has the talent; he has yet to prove he can manage a team or recruit the talent he lacks or adapt the offense to the talent he has. Having to use Beachum at TE to help Gilbert block is only one small indicia of the larger problem Tomlin has created for himself.

    Even if the team had somehow won this game, few fans would have taken any solace from that fact, given the quality of play. Worse, I have yet to see the competitive zeal on this squad that will be needed to turn things around. Win or lose, if a starting player lacks the will to compete, Tomlin must stop protecting favored players and find someone else who will do the job. For starters, he might look at Bill Cowher’s old motivation file, entitled “How to Build a Fire under the Ass of a Camel.”

    • Jalen

      September 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      George, please dump this in the faces of all then Phil’s, Pittsburgh radio media, et al that it is indeed Tomlin at the center of the blame with a side of Haley,and even Colbert!

  3. Matt Loede

    September 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Dr George,

    I fail to understand what you are talking about?!

    We had TWO game stories up within an hour of the game Sunday

    And also have no idea about ‘dumping comments’ – so please clarify your statement on that as well.

    Same with the comment about ‘not discussing the preseason games’ – we did that after every game

    I will admit that we didn’t have a game story up on the final preseason game, but after all, does anyone really care about the game aspect of that particular preseason game?

    Maybe try to visit more often, as maybe you are not seeing all the content we provide.

    Thank you!

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