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Report Card: Grading the Steelers win over the Browns

There are times as an educator, something I was for 16 years, when you see that stack of quizzes or tests sitting on your desk and you just have to wait to grade them. Sometimes it is based on the fact you just haven’t carved out time to dive into the grading process, and other times you have a strong feeling the class, as a whole, didn’t do well on this assignment.

When it comes to grading the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 2 game vs. the Cleveland Browns, it was more the latter, but it wasn’t as bad as Week 1. As always, I felt the best course of action was to just wait a bit, let the dust settle, and then visit the grades without the emotions of the game still fresh in my mind.

Did it improve the grades much? In some areas, yes, but not all. Time to get out the red pen and try to make this not look like a murder scene on the offensive side of the ball…


The offense stunk up the joint, again, but there were some signs of life. It might be nothing more than a faint blip on the radar, but the throw-and-catch to George Pickens showed a glimpse of what fans saw in the preseason. The question moving forward is can they find that groove again, or, as Mike Tomlin said, their ‘mojo’?? I’ll believe it when I see it, and in the meantime this grade continues to stink.

Grade: D-


Unlike the offense, the defense rebounded in a big way in Week 2. While Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt stole the show, improved play by Keanu Neal, Cole Holcomb and Patrick Peterson were bright spots. When the defense puts up 14 points, they get an “A” grade, right? No, that tackling kept them from reaching the pinnacle of the grading system. Improve that facet of the game, and hopefully have Minkah Fitzpatrick available on Sunday night, and the Steelers defense has their arrow pointing up.

Grade: B

Special Teams

Consistency is king with special teams, and this unit was that and then some in Week 2. Chris Boswell nailed two 50+ yard field goals, and Pressley Harvin III had the best game of his young career. Not only was Harvin pinning teams inside the 10-yard line, but had a tremendous hold on a bad snap by Christian Kuntz on a Boswell field goal attempt. The key to this unit is can they do it again in Week 3 and beyond? We’ll find out, but their performance on Monday night was “above the line”.

Grade: A


While the defensive game plan looked stellar in the aftermath, you have to wonder how the game would have been different if Nick Chubb wasn’t injured in the game. The offensive game plan was atrocious from the first drive, and while this falls on Matt Canada it also falls on Mike Tomlin. Tomlin should have final say over all game plans which his team will be deploying every week, and his approval of what’s happening on offense speaks volumes. A win shines this grade a little, but not much.

Grade: C-

Some might say this grade is too high, and I could be talked into dropping it some; however, I’m in a good mood coming off a win. Don’t tell anyone this, but sometimes teachers will grade papers with a lens based on how they feel about things. That’s what I’m doing here…

Overall Grade: C-

What grade do you give the Steelers after the win over the Browns? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3 of the regular season.


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