Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 11 Report Card

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Week 11 Report Card

Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If games were decided just in the second quarter, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have had another unwanted loss on their record. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Even with the Detroit Lions’ 27-point explosion in the second quarter, the Steelers found a way to emerge victorious with a 37-27 win.

Pittsburgh dominated three of the four quarters of the ballgame, and are surprisingly in a three-way tie for second place in the AFC North with a 4-6 record, thanks to losses by the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers didn’t have much of a balanced offensive attack. Twenty-seven of Pittsburgh’s plays were runs, while the other 45 were passes; only 40 of their 407 total yards were on the ground. Defensively, the Steelers probably played their best game of the season, even considering the second quarter meltdown. Detroit was held scoreless in the first, third and fourth quarters, allowing Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to complete only 41 percent of his passes, and keeping running back Reggie Bush in check in both the passing and running games.

With this win, it’s clear to say that Pittsburgh definitely believes that they have a chance at making the postseason. I believe the same can be said for all of Steeler Nation as well. The team’s quest for a miraculous surge for the playoffs won’t get any easier in the coming weeks. The Steelers’ next two games will be against divisional foes within a four-day span.

With that difficult task coming very soon, Pittsburgh will have little time to bask in the glow of this much-needed victory, and the good grades they received from it.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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9. Quarterback

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger played like the elite quarterback he is against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. Roethlisberger’s 367 passing yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions showed that the trade rumors leading up to Week 11 had no effect on his game.

Grade: A

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8. Running Backs

Steelers
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, Pittsburgh’s running game couldn’t get going. One big reason was the fact that the Steelers had to resort to the passing game after trailing by 10 points at halftime. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell led the team with a minuscule 36 yards on 18 carries. However, he once again showed his versatility in the passing game by catching four passes for 52 yards.

Grade: C

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7. Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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The comparison between Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was a pleasant surprise for Pittsburgh. Brown proved he could stand toe-to-toe with the best pass catcher in the league by snagging seven balls for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow receiver Jerricho Cotchery caught a touchdown for the third straight game, and now has five touchdowns in the last three games. Tight end Heath Miller even broke out of his funk with eight receptions (game-high) for 67 yards.

Grade: A

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6. Offensive Line

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The bad news is that the offensive line didn’t do much to help Pittsburgh’s struggling running game. The good news is that Roethlisberger was sacked only one time.

Grade: B-

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5. Defensive Line

Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive end Ziggy Hood did a good job of stepping in for the injured Brett Keisel. Hood finished the game with five tackles and a sack. Fellow defensive end Cameron Heyward didn’t get a sack for the third consecutive game, but he did have six total tackles, and put his share of pressure on Stafford.

Grade: B

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4. Linebackers

Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Even without LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh’s corps of linebackers did a good job in both defending the pass and the run. Jason Worilds stepped in with seven tackles and a sack, while Lawrence Timmons had five tackles of his own to go along with his fumble recovery. For the second week in a row, the Steelers found a way to contain an explosive running game.

Grade: B

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3. Defensive Backs

Steelers
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson’s explosion in the second quarter would have demoralized just about any opposing secondary, but not Pittsburgh’s. Cornerback Ike Taylor was torched by Megatron for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Taylor was also flagged for two penalties, and did drop two potential interceptions. However, Taylor and the rest of the secondary showed their poise and found a way to shut down the Lions’ passing game, and allowed Stafford to complete only 19 of his 46 pass attempts.

Grade: B

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2. Special Teams

Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers hardly got a chance in the return game. Kicker Shaun Suisham was once again perfect on the day connecting on all three of his field goal attempts.

Grade: A-

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1. Coaching

Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the second half of this season is going as planned for head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers. Tomlin proved that despite off-the-field rumors and sudden meltdowns on the field, he's able to find a way to get his players focused on the matter at hand. This is the reason why Pittsburgh is surprisingly still in the hunt for the AFC North title.

Grade: A


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