Steelers vs. Packers: Live Grades and Analysis for Green Bay

Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2013

Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) smiles as he leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys  at AT&T Stadium. Packers beat Cowboys 37-36. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers lost their Week 16 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Final Score

Pittsburgh: 38

Green Bay: 31


Green Bay Packers' Grades
Position Unit1st-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBC-
Run OffenseAA
Run DefenseC-D
Pass DefenseB-B
Special TeamsD-F
vs. Steelers Week 16

Final Analysis for the Green Bay Packers

Pass Offense: For all of the positive things Packers quarterback Matt Flynn has done in Aaron Rodgers’ absence, he has still had his issues. Although he was able to move this offense downfield, Flynn cost his team the game by throwing a costly pick-six, fumbling the football late in the fourth quarter and missing wide receiver Jordy Nelson on a slant route in the end zone.

Run Offense: One of the best elements of Green Bay’s offense over the last few weeks has been the effective play of their rushing attack. Despite an injury to starting running back Eddie Lacy in the second half, the Packers still found a way to shred the Steelers defense to the tune of 151 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Week 16.

Pass Defense: Despite the loss, it was a productive showing for Green Bay’s pass defense overall. Dialing up significant pressure and forcing Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to make quick reads, the Packers held the Steelers to just 192 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air.

Run Defense: Le'Veon Bell is a name the Green Bay Packers won’t forget anytime soon. The Packers run defense struggled to find a way to contain the Steelers' rookie running back and allowed Bell to finish the game with 124 yards rushing and a game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Special Teams: It’s fitting that after witnessing one of the worst special teams performances you'll see all season, the Packers would put themselves in good position to tie the game thanks to a 71-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter. Still, allowing a punter to complete a 30-yard pass is simply inexcusable.

Coaching: In a back-and-forth contest, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was forced to make some tough decisions in Week 16. In the end, McCarthy dove into his playbook and called a great play that gave his team a chance to tie the game as the clock expired. Sadly, Flynn misread the coverage which resulted in a game-ending incompletion.

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 22: Matt Flynn #10 of the Green Bay Packers is sacked by Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on December 22, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the Green Bay Packers

Pass Offense: Despite facing constant waves of pressure from Pittsburgh’s defense, Packers quarterback Flynn has looked in-control of this Green Bay offense, throwing for 137 yards and a touchdown. If Green Bay’s offensive line can hold up, Flynn will be able to open things up in the second half.

Run Offense: Rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, Lacy has averaged a ridiculous 7.6 yards per carry in the first half. A proven commodity for this Packers offense, Lacy’s continued dominance in the second half will be predicated on the continued success of Green Bay’s passing attack.

Pass Defense: Give lots of credit to Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Sending a generous amount of pressure, Green Bay’s defense has limited Roethlisberger’s ability to find his excellent wide receivers in space.

Run Defense: For all of the positive things the Packers defense has done in the first half, one thing they’ve struggled with is containing Bell, who has rushed for 71 yards on just 12 carries. Green Bay’s run defense is going to have to find a way to slow down the former Michigan State stud if they want to leave Lambeau Field with a victory.

Special Teams: The Packers have had major issues all season long when it comes to the play of their special teams unit. In the first half, those issues were highlighted twice. Whether it was giving up a 41-yard punt return to Antonio Brown or a 46-yard kick return to Emmanuel Sanders, it’s been nothing short of a disaster watching this Packers special teams unit play each week.

Coaching: Keeping his team focused and playing hard, Packers head coach McCarthy has really done a fantastic job guiding his team to success this season. Highlighted by a great first half of play-calling, McCarthy has maintained a balanced and effective offense.