Steelers Vs Patriots Positional Grades

Wow, what a game. I am not even sure where to start.

A tough, tough call decided an otherwise spectacular battle at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.

Once again, what is a catch, NFL?  Steelers’ fans sure would like to know today.

Aside from a heartbreaking call, the Steelers were the clear better team in the marquee matchup against the Patriots, even after losing Antonio Brown in the second quarter with a partially torn calf muscle.

The Pittsburgh defense looked good for much of the game, in terms of the pass rush and man coverage (unless you’re Sean Davis), while the offense did pretty much whatever it wanted.

Sunday’s loss is just a tough one to swallow right now.

Let’s take a look at how the Steelers’ positional groups performed.

QB — A-

The last-second fake-spike interception into triple coverage was maddening coming from Ben Roethlisberger, but the veteran quarterback was otherwise sharp in a game that the Steelers absolutely needed him to be.

Roethlisberger dialed it up deep when it made sense to, took the check downs when they were there and really took advantage of the middle of the field against the Patriots, carving them up for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns, misfiring on just 8 total passes in the loss.

He moved well in the pocket to avoid the rush, extended a few plays with his legs and even rushed three times for 10 yards.

It might be hard to look past the awful interception late, but Roethlisberger was in peak form once again. That’s great news for the Steelers moving forward.

What I don’t like from Roethlisberger coming out of this game is throwing the coaching staff under the bus for the decision not to clock the football despite Roethlisberger wanting to do just that. The play call is largely irrelevant at this time. The decision to throw the football to Rogers in that situation with that coverage is the problem.

If Roethlisberger didn’t liked what he saw, he should have chucked it 15 rows deep and forced the Steelers to settle for the field goal for the tie and overtime. Personally, I liked going for the win – in terms of the call – but hated the execution from the veteran quarterback.

The blame falls nowhere else but with him and his right arm from an execution standpoint.

RB — A

Possibly lost in the crazy ending to an otherwise great game was just how truly dominant Le’Veon Bell was as a runner and receiver.

Bell carved up the Patriots for 117 rushing yards and one touchdown on 24 carries, routinely breaking free into the second level of the defense for positive rushing plays. As a receiver, the Patriots were forced to try and check Bell with a cornerback when he lined out wide. It didn’t work well.

Coming out of the backfield as well, Bell finished with 5 receptions for 48 yards on 6 targets, picking up the slack in Brown’s absence.

James Conner continues to give the Steelers good snaps as a backup running back, providing the Pittsburgh run game with a shot of energy as the rookie rushed for 13 yards on 3 carries before exiting with a sprained knee. Keep an eye on that this week.

WR — A-

One would think that when the best wide receiver in football leaves in the second quarter with an injury, the rest of the receiving corps would fall apart. That wasn’t the case for the Steelers are Martavis Bryant continues to come on strong as a receiver, while JuJu Smith-Schuster put on a show of his own.

Bryant finally connected with Roethlisberger on a deep ball and also pulled in a spectacular one-handed touchdown to give the Steelers the lead at the half. He looks much more confident and in tune with what the Steelers want to do offensively.

As for Smith-Schuster, the kid continues to show up and produce each and every week. This week, Smith-Schuster hauled in 6 passes for 114 yards, including a thrilling 69-yard sprint down the left sideline on the Steelers’ final drive, setting up what looked to be the game-winning touchdown from Roethlisberger to Jesse James.

Eli Rogers was the target on the ill-advised final throw, which happened to be just his second target of the day. Rogers’ first target was an 18-yard touchdown on a read-option play that allowed Rogers to get behind Eric Rowe for the score off of a terrific strike from Roethlisberger on the move.

Brown hauled in 2 passes for 24 yards before exiting. However, his first catch gave him 100 on the season, marking the first time in NFL history a receiver has hauled in 100+ passes in five consecutive seasons.

He’s the GOAT, yinzers.

TE — B

This unit combined to haul in just 3 passes for 15 yards, but it’s the 1 pass that doesn’t count today that’s killing most of Steeler Nation.

At this point, I still don’t know what is and isn’t a catch, and that’s frustrating. The NFL is so inconsistent when it comes to these types of plays that fans never know.

I don’t fault James for trying to reach the ball across the end zone for the go-ahead score. He was right in referencing Xavier Grimble’s diving touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals last year where Grimble never really completed the catch and lost control once he hit the ground. That touchdown still stood.

Just an odd, odd way to determine the outcome of a tremendous game.

OL — B

Roethlisberger was sacked twice and hit 7 times, but overall the offensive line was pretty solid Sunday afternoon.

The unit up front was called for three penalties – 2 of which were on Alejandro Villanueva (holding, false start), but the starting five helped the Steelers rush for 143 yards and 1 touchdown on 31 carries against New England (4.6 yards per carry).

Speaking of Villanueva, he had a rough game. The 2 penalties hurt, but he was a mess at times as a pass protector. The Patriots clearly wanted to go at him and force him to think on the move. For the most part, he stood tall, but there were a handful of pass sets that he really struggled with, including a whiff on Trey Flowers that allowed the Pats’ linebacker to get a free shot at Roethlisberger.

David DeCastro was called for a holding call in the loss, but the standout right guard helped open some massive lanes for Bell on the boundary, as did Maurkice Pouncey. DeCastro helped spring Bell for the running back’s touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Steelers up by 8.

DL —  B-

Five quarterback hits and 1 sack from the Steelers’ defensive line was a strong showing against the pass, but this unit seemed to struggle against the Patriots’ run game, giving up big rushing lanes to the likes of Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead.

New England rushed for just 77 yards and 1 touchdown on 19 carries (4.1 yards per carry), but when the Steelers really needed a stop, the Patriots were able to run the ball successfully against the Pittsburgh front.

With the Steelers playing a ton of man coverage involving the linebackers as well, you have to count on some linemen up front winning 1-on-1 battles in the run game. That didn’t happen often enough for the Steelers.

Cam Heyward recorded the lone sack of the group, giving him 10.0 on the year, marking the first time since 2010 a Steelers defender has cracked double digits in sacks.

LB — B+

I have to say, I was mostly pleased with the Steelers linebackers’ performance on Sunday.

Sean Spence looked much better after looking very rusty and slow against the Ravens, while Vince Williams came up big with the first interception on Tom Brady in the Steelers-Patriots matchup since 2005.

Spence and Williams combined for 7 stops, 1 pass deflection and 1 interception on the day. When given the opportunity to come downhill against the run, Spence and Williams played very well.

LJ Fort played well in limited action, recording two stops while usually coming onto the field in obvious passing downs.

Off the edge, Bud Dupree had a big game, recording 2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss, consistently coming off the edge with speed and power, creating problems for the Patriots.

TJ Watt was rather quiet on the day, recording just 2 tackles.

DB — C

Sunday afternoon was another tough, tough game for Davis, who drew the tough draw of having to cover Rob Gronkowski 1-on-1. Gronk routinely burned Davis, finishing with 9 receptions for 168 yards while smoking Davis off the line on the late 2-point conversion to stretch New England’s lead to 27-24.

Against the run, Davis came downhill well, but too often he was left in coverage alone on Gronkowski and it came back to hurt the Steelers.

I thought Artie Burns played very, very well against the Patriots. When locked up in bump-and-run man coverage, he was tough to beat. Rarely did Brady challenge him. I hated the pass interference call on Burns when covering Gronk down the left sideline. Both players like to be physical when the ball is in the air. Let them play.

Burns did get caught by Brandin Cooks on a corner route, not dropping deep enough in his zone, leaving a sizeable hole between himself, Cooks and Mike Mitchell that cooks hauled in for a 43-yard gain.

Cam Sutton was beat by Cooks for a touchdown in the second half, but for much of the day he wasn’t heard from, which can be a good thing for a rookie cornerback.

Mike Hilton broke up two potential touchdown passes from Brady in the end zone, turning in a strong performance out of the slot, while Mitchell was solid on the back half, finishing with five tackles.

Special Teams — A

Chris Boswell drilled a 51-yard field goal in the rain at Heinz Field, continuing his impressive run as the Steelers’ kicker, while Jordan Berry had a strong day punting the football, pinning the Patriots back in their own end each time, including 1 punt inside the 20-yard line.

Smith-Schuster had a bit of a wiggle to his game as a returner, averaging 24.5 yards per return on 2 tries, while Fitzgerald Toussaint usually handled the short kickoffs and got what he could out of it.

Coverage units did a great job of handling Lewis and Danny Amendola on the day.

  • The Chin

    Mike Mitchell? I suppose my definition of solid may be different.

  • Chris92021

    QB: B+. Was going to be an A but that decision to throw the ball to Rogers was plain stupid.
    RB: A for Le’Veon Bell.
    WR: Brown, incomplete. Bryant: B+. JuJu: A. Eli Rogers: C+/B-
    TE: James: B- (sigh…I bet from now on, James will cradle the ball and never extend the ball again. This stupid rule has changed the way people play football). Grimble: B-
    OL: Villanueva: B- (that holding call could have gone either way. It did not go our way. Figures)
    Foster: B+
    Pouncey: B+ (that bad snap though)
    DeCastro: A-
    Hubbard: A- (given he is a backup)

    DL: Tuitt: A-
    Heyward: B+
    Hargrave: A- (please play him more)
    OLB: Dupree: B+/A- (excellent run stop on the perimeter play and he did get a sack)
    Watt: B
    ILB: Williams: A/A-
    Spence: C+ (have to remember he’s only played in 2 games with us)
    CBs: Burns: B-
    Hilton: A- (please play him more)
    Sutton: B+ (rookie curve)
    Ss: Davis: C (asking him to cover Gronkowski by himself was on Butler and Lake)
    Mitchell: B-

    Boswell: A
    Berry: B
    return game: C-

    Head coach: C (especially if he did call for the fake spike when the Patriots were ready for it)
    Offensive coordinator: C- (was a B+/A- until the 2nd half)
    Defensive coordinator: D (for asking Davis to single cover Gronkowski alone is unacceptable)

  • NinjaMountie

    I’ve decided to jump on the position change conspiracy wagon. Mine is just a mental exercise and I know it would never happen but I’m certain it would work.
    Here it comes:
    JuJu to RB (if they couldn’t afford to re-sign Bell)
    6’1 220lbs 4.5
    He’s already shown great field awareness and a tough running style. He would definitely be able to receive out of the backfield like Bell (probably better).
    He’s faster.
    Just don’t know how he would be seeing the holes.
    There it is…..feel free to belittle me but remember it was just a mental ramble, though I think it could work if forced to.

  • Chris92021

    I think there are several things in play. One, if we end up going all the way this season, the current team and the contracts on the books would allow for one more run in 2018. I believe we will do it by signing Bell to another franchise tag (at 15-16 million dollars) and draft a QB in the 1st/2nd round to groom as the starter. Two, I also believe JuJu is the type of player who can be a number 1 receiver because he has great football speed and plays fast.

  • Steelerbob

    That picture must be an optical illusion. it almost looks like Bryant is being held, but i dont see a flag anywhere so i guess i must be seeing things.

  • Ed Smith

    Not going to argue (see Montgomery in GB), however I’ve been one to say let Bell walk. I’ve changed my position. Pay the man the franchise tag again next year if can’t get a long term deal signed (within reason). Have a sneaky feeling that this year may be Ben’s last one. If so, this team is going to need Bell the next few years. As Chris92021 says below, draft a future QB, I say sign an Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Foles, type and with AB, Bell, Bryant and the rest of the cast they can win without Ben.
    Not chasing Ben away, just a “what if”. Something hopefully the FO does, as obviously the coaching staff during games does not!!

  • Ed Smith

    Nope he was held – that is why he had to catch one handed!! Refs… and the INEXCUSABLE part, during the TV coverage they show from another angle where you can see the hold and the official standing on the sideline in the end zone is clearly looking right at it.

  • NinjaMountie

    Though I’m certainly on record of saying I’m concerned about giving Bell that much money next season, I’m also sure we will.
    I agree, JuJu is a great WR. I know this will never happen but I truly think he could be a RB. Definitely would have a different, more traditional, running style but I could see him being a 1k rusher 600+ receiving RB. I think he’s just that kind of athlete. Shoot, I’ll bet you could turn him into a good NFL Safety if you had the mind.

  • Chris92021

    Given how bad we are at safety, that might actually be a sound idea!

  • NinjaMountie

    I’m a Cousins fan. IF Ben retires after this year I’d definitely let Bell walk. Sign Cousins and draft a RB. Again, I feel it necessary to say that I firmly believe they will tag Bell.
    I hope Ben sticks around and we get lucky with a QB dropping to us this year. HOPE

  • NinjaMountie


  • PittShawnC

    I think the DB’s earned at least a B.

    Consider: A secondary with 2nd year Burns, 2nd year Davis, practice squad Hilton and 3rd game rookie Sutton held TB12 to 221 passing yards through 56 minutes of play. Aside from the big 43 yarder, Cooks went 3-17. Amendola, 2-23. White/Lewis 3-21. Even Gronk was under 100yds at that point.

    I mean, I think that’s pretty good. Borderline impressive. I’m not sure you can ask much more of that group. They absolutely gave this team a legit chance to win.

    DB’s – B

  • NinjaMountie

    I agree. Very fair of you.
    Honestly, I’m still in shock at the way they decided to cover Gronk on that last drive. Left him one on one too many times. That’s on coaching.

  • The Tony

    QB- Ben played well all game. I hated the fact that we decided to play it safe in the 4th quarter instead of go for the kill. I agree Ben should have thrown the ball 15 yards into the stands and then kicked the field goal. That final play was hard to watch seeing that no one really knew what to do. Regardless Ben has really elevated his game over the past few weeks and I am confident we can take them again if need be going forward. The interception will lower his grade for me. A-

    RB- Bell was terrific using his patience and bursts to gain yardage as well as being terrific in the passing game. I was really hoping they would have utilized Bell on the final red zone trip instead of a dump off to DHB, which I kind of understand if he was able to gain the edge with his speed then it could have worked. I just much rather have used bell on a quick slant on second down and fight for the end zone. Rosie was solid on special teams and in the blocking game. RB’s get a solid A

    WR- Losing AB looked like it was going to hurt. Bryant finally came to play making some clutch passes. I would be really interested to see the All-22 on the JuJu 70 yard catch and see who was downfield blocking because it appeared if someone on the opposite side of the field was able to hold a block then JuJu could have scored. Either way both JuJu and Bryant came up big when we really needed them. Eli Rogers found the end zone as well. The only fault I see was that DHB has got to get out of bounds if he knew he wasn’t getting the edge at the end. That would have been huge to stop the clock. Then using Eli on a slant at the end was infuriating which more so goes on coaching. Overall without AB you can’t ask for more out of the group solid A

    TE- Please stop chanting Heath when James makes a catch

    OL- The line wasn’t bad last night. Patriots sent constant blitzes on Ben and Ben was able to stand tall and make the plays needed. A couple of penalties really stalled some promising drives. Which I also find to be completely asinine that the Pats only had 2 penalties all damn game with the Corrente crew. Inexcusable.
    The line opened holes for Bell and was pretty consistent all game. They let off a little more pressure than I would have liked. One of the sacks seemed to be a coverage sack, so what can you do there? That’s on Ben. Overall i’d say B

    DL- For as much talent they have, I would really love to see them be more consistent in stopping the run. Way too many times recently we have been getting gashed and it starts up front. The line was able to get good pressure on Brady multiple times just missing on getting a sack where Brady was able to step up and make a throw. That was the difference in the game to me. Yet again it is inexcusable to think that none of our defenders on the line were not held all game… Inexcusable. Overall B-

    LB- I’m not sure what everyone else thought of Spence, but I consistently saw a guy out of position trying to play catch up and wasn’t effective in the run or the pass. Vince Williams had a nice game with the crucial interception on Brady, first time in 12 years. Dupree was getting solid pressure last night and hopefully he can continue that trend. I saw him a few times line up on different sides. I was really hoping for more of Watt, it would have been nice to see him schemed and doubled up on Gronk. The linebackers as a unit needed to be better last night and again without Shazier they were not. They get a C

    DB- I was actually impressed on how well they adapted and played man coverage. Tony Romo really did a good job building the play with his narration of the man to man. I thought Burns had another good start, I am not sure about the first play action to Cooks on who’s assignment that was but it was ugly. The Steelers had to of known the Pats would try something like that early on and they did and it worked. Davis was frustrating at times last night too. Coaches didn’t help him at all with Gronk. Good luck guarding him man to man. Coty probably had a decent game since I don’t ever recall seeing or hearing his name called, usually a good thing. I thought the secondary played pretty well last night and deserves some credit B-

    Special teams- They did what they needed to do kicking the ball. Returns are still a mess. B

    Coaching- I thought Butler and Haley were terrific for three quarters. They used various schemes and adapted well when AB went down. Steelers gave a healthy dose of Bell all game which is good on Haley. I absolutely hated everything about the 4th quarter. Offensively. GO FOR THE KILL! You have a Hall of Fame QB, give him the ball and let him win you the game with three minutes to go. If you want to kill the clock then do a check down to Bell and let him create something. Do not live in your fears. Why are we calling plays to throw short of the first down. Inexcusable. It came up again at the end in the red zone. Yes we got screwed on the touchdown and hopefully the league will change the rule. But we had two other chances to score. I hated the play to DHB. Give the ball to your play makers and let them create. Don’t give the ball to DHB who rarely sees the field. I don’t mind going for it on third down but for the love of god do a fade route and if nothing is there throw it out of bounds! Kick the field goal and go for overtime. Butler was pretty good almost all game. Please double up on Gronk on the final drive. He was tearing us to shreds and we consistently did man to man with no help. Two point conversion. Double team Gronk and let someone else beat you. Had we won this game the coaches get an A but since we lost in infuriating fashion they get a B-

    Refs- Please be better. NFL please be better. Making money is great but they should have never let Gronk play this game. Deliberately trying to injure a player and giving a concussion is a 1 game suspension. Unbelievable.

  • The Tony

    Please double up on him. Let someone else beat you. 2 point conversion. Please double up on Gronk. Let someone else beat you

  • The Tony

    Never forget only 2 penalties for the Pats with the flag happy Corrente crew

  • The Tony

    I say pay Bell 17 a year and thank him for not going elsewhere. The man is a difference maker. Do not let hall of fame players walk over money

  • PittShawnC

    Yeah, I don’t know enough about schemes to propose an alternative. The easy answer, of course, is double coverage in some form. But where are you pulling that extra body from and what is it leaving open or exposing as a result?

    I think Butler came up with a scheme that, overall, works.

  • PittShawnC

    Never forget we had the ball with a 5 point lead with 3:56 to go
    Never forget JuJu’s big play was not called back
    Never forget we had two more plays to win the game after JJ play
    Never forget we had a chance for a FG to tie the game

  • NinjaMountie

    Well, we’re in trouble right now because our LB and DB depth is terrible. Shoot, we brought a guy off the street that is starting over the presumed backup. We can’t afford to upgrade anything because we have paid our stars so much. Give Bell 15 (or 17 lol) and it will just get worse. Those are my concerns.

  • The Tony

    I will never forget all of them. Was there holding on the JuJu play, I must have missed it. All I was saying is that it’s hard enough to beat the Pats, but to think they played nearly perfect is ridiculous

  • NinjaMountie

    I agree with both of you. A loss can rarely be attributed to one thing.
    The Pats did seem to get away with some penalties but the reason we lost the game is, as PittShawnC says, because of what we didn’t do and not what the Pats did.

  • PittShawnC

    There wasn’t. But why would the refs let us get that close to even have a chance to win?

  • The Tony

    I’ll put on my conspiracy theory hat and say that Godell wanted overtime

  • PittShawnC

    Sucks to admit Ninja, but we blew this game. We earned the right to win it and blew it.

  • Intense Camel

    If Ben retire let bell walk? Why?

  • NinjaMountie

    Exactly. On the bright side, I think our guys feel like they can definitely beat this team if they meet again.

  • PittShawnC

    lol. There’s no conspiracies. Ever read Bengal message boards and comment sections after we beat them? They say everything most Steeler fans are saying right now about the Pats. NFL want’s Steelers to win, we have to beat the Steelers AND the refs, blah blah blah.

  • The Tony

    The Steelers are capable of moving money around. They have been great at it for years. Not to mention who knows what happens with Shazier. Will he back? or will he retire? If he retires than that money can be allocated to a need. If he is somehow able to return next season then we are looking good at that position.

  • pittfan

    Either you have to have your safety play closer over the top OR have a LB provide cover underneath and let Davis back pedal against the deep ball. One or the other. Is there anyone in the NFL that has shown the ability to cover gronk 1-1 successfully?

  • The Tony

    I agree with you that we blew the game. In my long post earlier I stated that when we had the ball with three minutes, Ben should have taken over instead of playing it safe.

  • PittShawnC

    That’s how I feel. LIke I said in my post below, look at the secondary we trotted out there and look at what they did for 56 minutes against TB 12. Sutton and Hilton are only gonna get better and we’ll have Haden back should we meet again.

  • Intense Camel

    Juju actually played safety in high school and was damn good at it. I don’t understand why more players don’t play both sides. These are world class athletes who’ve been playing the game all their lives.

  • The Tony

    I completely agree. Especially if Brown is back for that game.

  • The Tony

    Don’t want to have an investment in a player suffer injury playing both sides

  • NinjaMountie

    My reasoning is that you can draft a 1000 yard rusher. You sign Cousins and upgrade the D. I think you’d have a better all around team. Will you be able to replace what Bell gives you with the drafted RB? No, but I think you can by spreading it around.
    Just my opinion.
    If we don’t win it this year it will not be because we can’t move the ball. It will be because we can’t stop others from moving the ball.
    I’d love to keep Bell. Just not at 15 million.
    Edit: For the record, I believe this applies to Ben not retiring as well.

  • The Tony

    I know there is no conspiracies, fact is we let that game go. We should have won it but we blew the game.

  • PittShawnC

    It’s just such a predicament. If you double Gronk, does that let Amendola, Cooks and (if we play again) Hogan run with more freedom? Ugh. Good luck Keith lol.

  • Intense Camel

    Yea I guess when there’s money involved it gets messy, but I’m not suggesting full time, just in spots. I think the Titans use Adoree Jackson on offense some.

  • Matt

    Problem is that without Shazier, they don’t have a linebacker who Gronk won’t dust, that effectively leaves him 1 on 1 with Davis in any event. I think they’re going to have to consider Having 2 DBs on Gronk next time out in that sort of situation.

  • The Tony

    You realize the Cousins is going to sign for over 24 per year right? He is going to be making more than Ben. Do you really want a QB to come in that doesn’t know our system not have a player in Bell to lean on while he learns the team

  • NinjaMountie

    I guess you could cut Shazier but talk about a PR nightmare.
    It will be interesting but you’ll be freeing up money to sign Bell. You’ll still be left with none for improvement or depth. 15 mill is a huge chunk of the cap.

  • Intense Camel

    But if Ben leaves then essentially Bell would be getting his money. Losing Ben and Bell in one offseason for nothing would be too much imo. We have to keep one or the other.

  • NinjaMountie

    I know he’s a proven commodity and I’d most certainly want that over ANY drafted player.

  • NinjaMountie

    You’d actually have to still come up with 5 mill to tag Bell. And we’d be without a QB. Yuck…..Ben just needs to come back lol

  • Matt

    Unless the QB is a can’t miss prospect, I wouldn’t draft a QB in the first 2 rounds. There are bigger problems for this team at ILB and Safety. Mitchell is in decline. I expect Davis to improve next year, but he is still up and down in his play, so I don’t think we can completely count on him to deliver great play consistently (although I’d love it if he does). I think rounds 1 and 2 have to address ILB and safety. I also think that the team needs to look at some free agent ILB options. After the second round, I’d go with the best player available – with the caveat that TE and QB are priorities.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    It’s essentially exactly what they laid out NE was doing to cover AB over the top.

    The Steelers would have assigned someone to cover him in man and then also a safety over the top.

    For what it’s worth, after the game, Dungy and Harrison seemed surprised the Steelers never adjusted to that strategy.

  • Intense Camel

    Yea he does, but losing him and bell would be catastrophic imo. We could certainly have a rb by committee but we know that is diametrically opposed to what Tomlin does so there won’t be much to spread around.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Is this really the succession plan for Shazier going down – bring back S. Spence?

    I’m not saying I have a better idea, just.. shouldn’t they be planning for these potentialities? Dirty Red wasn’t coming back to start again imo, after that Cinci game. So then just…. street free agent?

  • NinjaMountie

    No one wants to lose anyone. I know I’d love to keep Bell. I’m just one of those guys that looks at the impact of things in multiple layers. I just hope we don’t hamstring ourselves in so many other areas by giving him that money. I’m a worrier, lol.

  • Steelerbob

    Even worse, Romo made some comment about bryant taking a chance and only using one hand. i couldnt believe it. he had no choice, the other was taken away.

  • NinjaMountie

    Just an idea:
    Next year we have 7 people on the books for 10mill+, add Bell’s 15 and that makes 8 people for a total of 115.1 million against the cap.
    I looked at other teams with a franchise QB to closely match our situation: GB, NE, NO (this year for NO because Brees isn’t on their books next season).
    GB: 6 players for a total of 79.7 mill.
    NE: 4 players for 57.4 mill.
    NO: 2 players for 31 mill.

  • Intense Camel

    Yea that’s pretty bad, geez

  • pittfan

    Yup. His unique size and speed combination present a huge problem for anyone unles you have a guy with similar attributes

  • pittfan


  • pittfan

    All that.

  • srdan

    or your ability to see his responsibility, and not only grade him on his celebrations.

  • srdan

    Yeah if that was the plan, why didn’t we sign spence 10 weeks ago and cut Red?

  • srdan

    don’t kid yourself. Shazier did worse vs him than davis.

  • srdan

    but that becomes unavailable to you with sutton. But trust and believe that Haden will be left on an island next time around with cooks, hogan or amendola. Honestly, would any of those 3 see the field on our team?

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    smith-schuster is not faster than Le’Veon Bell. Juju has been caught every time he’s gotten free as opposed to Le’Veon Bell who often has outrun Defenders. That’s one of the knocks against Schuster coming out of SC was that he is a Tad slow for a receiver

  • Matt

    Ryan’s coverage has improved. I’m not saying he’s better in coverage than Davis or that you could better defend Gronk by pitting Shazier one on one against him.

    The comment I was responding to assumes you double Gronk with a linebacker underneath and safety up top. Only linebacker on the Steelers who can run with Gronk, so that he isnt ultimately one on one against the safety is Shazier.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    No. You don’t draft a QB High next year. The offense is fine. They better concentrate on the defense. They had better replace Ryan Shazier ASAP in fact they better get two pass rushers next year. You just saw how the offense stood in there, Toe to Toe with New England offense is not the problem. They need another pass rusher from The Edge next year and another inside linebacker. Definitely need another inside backer to control the middle of the field and cover big TEs like Shazier used to, uf he doesn’t return particularly.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Agree. What lost that game was the inside backer position and an inability to be disruptive & control the middle of the field. Which would include safety. But Wilcox is sufficient. Mitchell has tread left, at least 2 years. Get a safety the following draft 2019. But coming year draft needs to concentrate on ILB, OLB edge rusher at some point because you can’t have enough rotation. TIGHT END Then the rest has to be in the trenches, ie Oline.

  • Francisco Espinoza

    Hi… The DBs played man almost the entire game and it was great to see. Besides Gronk, pretty much all their WRs were in check (minus Shazier and Haden). question, since I read on this thread having Juju as Montgomery in GB, what about TJ shadow Gronk? more like a hybrid defense inserting Harrison on his position and allow TJ moving around? does it sound crazy, stupid, something that it may be done? we saw how it was a once sided match on Sean Davis…

  • Peter Griffin

    how about coaching grades? F for Haley for blowing the game 2nd and 23 and calling two lame running plays by our 4th string RB… A+ for Butler shifting scheme to Man and pulling it off pretty darn well considering it’s new.

  • Carl Mendelius

    If anything, this game proved one thing: The Steelers looked much more competitive defensively than years past and it was in large part because they played man coverage with acceptable success. Brady didn’t find his receivers so easily like last season’s game.

    Nevertheless, there is much more work to do in this respect. Gronk was catching the ball almost at will and Sean Davis needed help and got none. Shazier absence was key but to me the Steelers need to keep improving the secondary to be able to handle the Pats and all his pass weapons. Sorry but Mike Mitchell is not a good fit to match up with Brady and Co. We need a safety capable of playing man coverage when required.

    Moreover, the ENTIRE secondary has to able to play man coverage, every Starting and backup DB has to be capable to play man coverage. This is the way to go if we want to matchup with the Pats and any other team that plays with short and fast passes with a very good QB. I am confident that if the Steelers continues to improve the secondary they will become a champion. But time is not on their side, Ben has at most two years left, they need to use not only the draft but Free Agency as well, yeah go for all the marbles before Ben is gone. Please get a new safety and another CB next season.

  • NinjaMountie

    Both of their 40 times are on record. Also, Bell is quick but has no long speed. When you watch their 40s, and them as they run, you can tell that JuJu is still accelerating at 40 yds.
    Also, JuJu sure wasn’t caught on that 97 yard TD he had.
    Bell has lateral quickness on JuJu most likely.
    Again, it’s not worth arguing about because there is actual evidence that you are incorrect.

  • Reezy

    Did anyone else notice Bud lineup on the right side? He seemed to play better…

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Smith-schuster barely scored on that long touchdown in Detroit. He didn’t separate from anyone and hasn’t really run away from anyone I’ve seen yet. But he was slow at USC. Maybe he’ll get faster in the NFL like brown did. Antonio Brown supposedly runs a sub 4.4. Le’Veon Bell came into the league as a big 240 + pound back. We’ve seen Le’Veon Bell lose weight and run away from people and separate. Still waiting for Schuster. We’ve seen Le’Veon Bell take the Rock from the backfield and run through each level of the defense outrunning people. Schuster long catching Detroit he was already past the second level and still got caught practically.

  • jesse murray

    Watt beat the OT by my count x 5. Stop getting carried away with stats and realize he had a good game.

  • John W.

    One other facet of the Steeler game which deserves a grade is the touchdown celebrations, and I have to give JuJu top marks for re-enacting (with Eli Rogers, IIRC) his taunting of Vontaze Burfict. If the ESPY Awards include a category for touchdown celebrations, JuJu is almost certain to be a nominee, and there are several of his celebrations to choose from.

  • NinjaMountie

    Now I remember why I quit responding to your posts before. You’re crazy. You see things about Bell absolutely no one else does.
    Bell is a great rb with great vision and agility. He is absolutely long speed deficient.
    This will be my last post. Lol
    Merry Christmas

  • ND_Steel

    I’d drop Ben to a B+ or B. Played well, but didn’t convert on third down to an open Rogers with 4 mins left, and panicked throwing the int at the end. QBs get the credit and the blame, comes with the job.

    DBs get a C- or D+. Gave up almost 300 yards passing despite NE only having limited time of possession. Gave up huge chuck plays to allow NE to score in 70 secs.

    Maybe I’m putting too much stock on the last 4 mins but just like in school the final test is weighted more than the quizzes along the way.

  • ND_Steel

    Maybe as Haden comes back, they will move him or Sutton over Gronk. Plus slide a LB out to jam him on occasion. This and I am optimistic that we built to be the better bad weather team.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    I see this about Bell. PAST MVP, CONSENSUS past MVP & PERRENNIAL league MVP candidate, consensus consistently dominant running back statistically. And several plays where Bell took it to the house outrunning Defenders. All this versus a rookie who hasn’t done Jack in the league. And a wide receiver known for being slow at USC as pre combine teports numbers and combine numbers proved. There’s a reason he dropped as low as he did in the draft. And the other thing that I’ve seen is Schuster literally getting caught caught up to or track down with every bricklay he’s had so far. He’s not that much faster than Bell if at all. Which I say he isn’t. And don’t worry no need to respond as you won’t be missed. Have a good weekend.

  • NinjaMountie

    Merry Christmas you dim witted wind bag.
    He’s not faster than JuJu. That you think so shows exactly how ignorant you are.
    To think Bell outrun 2nd level defenders shows how delusional you are.
    Do you…keep being stupid

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Haaa, true to form. I see you couldn’t resist. You can’t even keep your own promise, Lol. Apparently you feel the need to respond after all. And of course being as simple-minded As You Are and you clearly are a simple mind as evidence by your consistent personal attacks or attempts thereof against someone you don’t even know personally, pretty much makes my point. You have nothing to offer and you’re unable to confine your commentary to football. But I might be using too many big words for you and too many. In the future I promise I’ll dumb things down just for you and keep them nice and short and simple Elementary and basic for the simple mind.

  • NinjaMountie

    You make it impossible to only talk about football. You inject entirely too much fantasy into your comments.
    You, literally, have no basis for your opinion. Look, Bell is a great RB. He’s slow, though. It’s well known…other than by you.
    Honestly, I do think you’re an idiot. Worse, you’re an idiot that can’t admit he’s wrong which means you desire to remain an idiot. I have no tolerance for people like you.
    So keep doing you….being stupid.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Of course you ” honestly” think what you think. I appreciate your honesty in your simple-minded kind of way. Thanks for admitting what I knew all along, which is you have no football IQ but plenty of personal attacks. So you like facts, well then why don’t you go find Bells 40 yard time and tell me how Slow you think it is since the highlights, tape and video of this man on break away runs is not enough for you. And apparently the scouting reports on Smith Schuster and the combine numbers aren’t enough for you, let alone the tape we have seen on Schuster so far. Maybe you should try understanding what training is. Look no further than Antonio Brown who improved his speed once he entered the league. Le’Veon Bell dropped over 20 lb of body weight. By the way that weight loss is not opinion. I’m afraid it’s fact. And he’s also gotten quicker and faster. That’s simple and short enough for you to understand.