Steelers vs. Chiefs: Final Positional Grades for Pittsburgh

Dan SnyderCorrespondent INovember 9, 2012

Steelers vs. Chiefs: Final Positional Grades for Pittsburgh

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    Oh my goodness.

    I can almost guarantee you Steelers fans were not expecting Monday Night's contest to turn out the way it did. After sputtering to a forgettable start, the Steelers fought back and snuck out a win over one of the leagues worst teams.

    But the Steelers have bigger worries than squeaking out a win over an inferior squad.

    Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left Monday's contest with an apparent injury to his throwing shoulder. He did not return to the game and could miss some significant time.

    So, let's take a look at the final game grades for the Steelers overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.   

Quarterbacks -- C

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    Steelers fans couldn't have pictured Monday Night's game going the way it did, especially seeing their biggest star leave the stadium. 

    Ben Roethlisberger was struggling enough as it was before colliding with both Justin Houston and Tamba Hali and injuring his throwing shoulder. 

    That brought in Byron Leftwich. 

    Leftwich didn't look ready to go as he entered the game and the Steelers turned to an ultra conservative offensive plan at the end of the contest. Byron barely threw the ball over 5 yards at all in the game, minus two completions for first downs. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Ben Roethlisberger -- C+

    - Roethlisberger struggled with the weather and pass rush, but didn't get a whole lot of help from his receivers. 

    Byron Leftwich -- D

    - After watching tonight's game, Steelers fans are praying for Big Ben's return next week against the Ravens

Running Backs -- C-

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    When the chips were down and Big Ben was in the locker room, the Steelers called on their running backs to lead them to victory. 

    They obviously didn't get that memo. 

    With Leftwich in at quarterback, Kansas City keyed on the Pittsburgh ground attack and all but shut it down. Isaac Redman had a costly fumble deep in Steeler territory early in the game while both Redman and Dwyer struggled to pick up the tough yards in the trenches, running for a total of 77 yards in the game. 

    The offensive line didn't really create many running lanes for the backs and there wasn't much of a passing game to compliment, so you can't put it all on them. But it wasn't a great performance by the backs on Monday Night. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Jonathan Dwyer -- C+

    - ran hard in the game and tried to fight for extra yards. 

    Isaac Redman -- C-

    - Costly fumble early in the game and struggled to find any running room.

Wide Receivers -- D

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    As bad as the Steelers passing attack was on Monday Night, the wide receivers didn't do a whole lot to help that out. 

    Routinely, the Pittsburgh receiving corps struggled to gain any separation and get open against what was considered a weak secondary. Three receivers (Wallace, Sanders, Cotchery) accounted for 6 of the 16 completions all game. 

    The only reason the receivers aren't getting an F here is because of Mike Wallace's stunning touchdown reception. A score that probably saved the game for the Steelers.

    Pittsburgh really missed Antonio Brown's quickness and ability to beat coverages in this game. They'll need him back ASAP. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Mike Wallace -- B-

    - Big TD grab jacks his grade up, but no explosive plays yet again.

    Emmanuel Sanders -- D

    - Had one big reception but mostly argued for flags in this game.

    Jerricho Cotchery -- D

    - Virtually nonexistent until the 4th quarter.

Tight Ends -- B-

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    Again, it's the tight ends, and by tight ends I mean Heath Miller, who hole up the Steelers offense. Miller finished the night with 4 grabs for 47 yards, all of which came in the first half. 

    In fact, the Steelers didn't throw to either Miller or David Paulson at all in the second half of Monday Night's game. 

    Miller should have been much more involved in the second half passing attack, but he was used primarily as a blocker. With him blocking, the pass game suffered. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Heath Miller -- B

    - Favorite target in the first half, but held in as a blocker in the 2nd. 

Offensive Line -- D

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    It just wasn't a very good night for the Steelers offensive line and that in turn led to a poor night from the entire Steelers offense. 

    The unit that had run blocked so well over the last three weeks routinely missed free rushers and left KC's leading tackler Derrick Johnson unblocked on too many occasions. Willie Colon was flagged twice on the same play and cost the Steelers 19 yards in fouls.

    The pass protection also failed in this one and may have cost the Steelers their franchise quarterback for quite some time. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Willie Colon -- F

    - Not only because of penalties, but he was bad in run blocking. 

    Mike Adams -- B

    - Didn't hear his name called much; that's a good thing.

Defensive Line -- D

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    One guy on the field single-handedly kept this unit from getting an F and that was defensive end Brett Keisel. Keisel had a great game and was just about the only Steeler who could get to the quarterback in this game. 

    Ziggy Hood and Casey Hampton continue to struggle against the run. Jamaal Charles ran for 100 yards on 23 carries, but it was uglier early. Hood and Hampton either need to step up their play or come off the bench. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Brett Keisel -- A

    - If it wasn't for Timmons, he'd have the game ball.

    Ziggy Hood -- D

    - Had a pretty good 4th quarter; only thing that saved his grade.

    Casey Hampton -- F

    - Simply can't get it done anymore.

Linebackers -- C+

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    When you think of Steelers linebackers, you think of pass rushers. 

    When you think of these Steelers linebackers, you think of guys who should be pass rushers but have really underachieved. That continued again on Monday. 

    LaMarr Woodley had a horrible first half as the Chiefs continued to run the ball right at him with big-time success while his counterpart, James Harrison, continued to be a ghost on the field. 

    Lawrence Timmons, however, was a monster all game long. He finished the game with 7 total tackles and an overtime interception that more-or-less won the game for Pittsburgh.

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Lawrence Timmons -- A+

    - Timmons played a great game and bailed the Steelers out in the end.

    LaMarr Woodley -- C-

    - Bounced back in the 2nd half, but 1st half was one to forget.

    James Harrison -- D

    - Another game and you wouldn't even know James Harrison played.

Defensive Backs -- B+

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    One unit that actually played pretty well in this game was the Steelers defensive backfield. Granted they were playing against Matt Cassel but they did their job. 

    Ryan Clark continued to have a Pro Bowl caliber year before leaving late in the 4th quarter after colliding with Dwayne Bowe. He led the team with 10 tackles and nearly picked off Cassel in the final quarter. 

    Will Allen has quietly done a great job of filling in for Troy Polamalu. Allen had 3 tackles and was instrumental in stopping the run. 

    INDIVIDUAL GAME GRADES

    Ryan Clark -- A

    - Team can only hope he'll be able to go next week. 

    Ike Taylor -- B+

    - Covered down all night and broke up a key deep throw.

    Will Allen -- B

    - Won't ever wow you but plays the game hard. 

Special Teams -- B-

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    The Steelers special teams unit didn't do a whole lot to impress on Monday night. Then again, they didn't really do anything wrong. 

    The special teamers came in and did their job, especially kicker Shaun Suisham. Suisham has been great this season for the Steelers and worked his magic again, kicking the game winner and allowing the Steelers to sneak out with a win. 

Coaching -- D

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    I understand you've lost your starting quarterback and best offensive player for the game and I get that the weather is bad. But that is no excuse for pretty much shutting down your offense with a three point lead in a game where, frankly, you haven't played very well. 

    That's exactly what the Steelers did in the fourth quarter Monday night, completely disregarding the fact that they actually do have a veteran backup QB. Now, admittedly, Leftwich didn't play very well while he was in the game, but that doesn't mean you can just concede throwing the ball. 

    Defensively, the team needs to find someone up front who can play the run. If the Steelers thought Casey Hampton is still the answer at the nose, they won't after tonight's game.