Steelers vs. Packers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Green Bay

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIDecember 23, 2013

Steelers vs. Packers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Green Bay

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    Eddie Lacy earned one of the few solid grades for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
    Eddie Lacy earned one of the few solid grades for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    The Green Bay Packers lost a close game to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The 38-31 loss dropped them to 7-7-1 on the season.

    Despite the high score, the Packers really didn't play a great game in Week 16. The special teams unit was atrocious, quarterback Matt Flynn struggled with consistency all game long and the secondary gave up a number of big plays.

    In fact, only a few positions earned positive grades this week. Let's take a look at the full roster report card grade for the Packers this week.

     

    *All statistics courtesy of NFL.com.

Quarterback

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Key Player: Matt Flynn

    It wasn't the prettiest of games for Matt Flynn against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

    He only completed 54 percent of his passes in the game. In fact, for the majority of the second half Flynn had difficulties with his accuracy and finding open receivers. He completely missed wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the end zone on the final play of the game.

    Overall, Flynn finished with 232 yards, one touchdown and an interception. That lone interception was a costly one, as it was returned for a touchdown by Pittsburgh. He also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter that turned into the game-winning touchdown for the Steelers.

    Had Flynn made a few more plays and less mistakes, the Packers would have probably walked away with a win on Sunday.

     

    Final Grade: C-

Running Backs

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Key Players: Eddie Lacy, James Starks and John Kuhn

    The Green Bay Packers got great production from their running backs in this week's game. In fact, it was one of the better overall games from the ground attack of the Green Bay Packers.

    Lacy led the way with 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Kuhn and Starks combined for a total of 59 yards and a touchdown. Starks also added a 23-yard reception to his overall production.

    The best part from this unit was how Starks and Kuhn picked up the slack after Lacy was forced out of the game with an injury. Green Bay was able to keep the ball moving on the ground without Lacy thanks to the outstanding play of Starks.

    No unit had a better game than the running backs this week and they get an extremely solid grade because of it.

     

    Final Grade: A-

Wide Receivers

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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    Key Players: Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin

    Despite only recording one touchdown this week, the wide receivers of the Green Bay Packers played a rather impressive game.

    The group combined for a total of 17 receptions, 184 yards and a touchdown. Jones led all receivers with nine receptions and 84 yards.

    However, the big winner from this game was Boykin, who made a leaping touchdown reception over a defender in the first quarter. He's continued his strong play throughout the season and will definitely be a big part of this offense next year.

    It may be easy to think that the wide receivers struggled this week, but that would be far from the truth. They played a good game, but were often hindered by the overall play of their quarterback.

     

    Final Grade: B

Tight Ends

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Key Player: Andrew Quarless

    After playing a key role in back-to-back games, Quarless really struggled this week for the Green Bay Packers.

    For starters, he only recorded one reception for 19 yards despite being targeted four times. However, it was the mental errors that really cost Green Bay.

    Quarless dropped a handful of passes in this week's game. He also ran into quarterback Matt Flynn on Flynn's pick-six late in the third quarter.

    Simply put, Quarless failed to make the type of impact he's made in recent weeks, and that's what ultimately caused his poor grade against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

     

    Final Grade: C-

Offensive Line

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Key Players: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Don Barclay

    It wasn't too bad of a game from the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers this week. 

    Sure, the Pittsburgh Steelers recorded three sacks, but only one of those sacks was really the reason of the offensive line. The other two sacks were due to quarterback Matt Flynn holding onto the ball too long and failing to make proper decisions.

    The offensive line also did a good job at opening up holes for running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks. They were able to get to the second level and into space on a rather consistent basis.

    Overall, the offensive line played a strong game and was a big reason the Packers were able to hang so close to Pittsburgh in this game.

     

    Final Grade: B

Defensive Line

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Key Players: Mike Daniels, B.J. Raji, Josh Boyd, Datone Jones, Ryan Pickett

    The biggest problem with the defensive line in recent weeks has been the fact that they have struggled to make any positive impact in games.

    This week was no different for this group of players. Raji was completely ineffective and also had a foolish penalty that extended a drive for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Neither Boyd, Jones or Pickett did much of anything either.

    The only player to make a positive play on the defensive line was Daniels. His non-stop motor and ability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks remains the lone bright spot along the defensive line as the season comes to an end.

    The Green Bay Packers will likely need to make some changes along the defensive line for the future and this game will show exactly why that needs to happen.

     

    Final Grade: C-

Linebackers

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Key Players: A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, Brad Jones, Andy Mulumba, Jamari Lattimore, Nick Perry

    No specific unit has seen as many injuries as the linebackers for the Green Bay Packers. Hawk is the only starter who hasn't missed a game this season, and that's a big reason why this group struggles to play up to their talent level.

    This week's biggest play came from the defensive MVP of the season, Mr. Hawk. His interception in the fourth quarter gave the Packers a chance to tie the game with just over seven minutes remaining.

    Matthews also posted a sack, but he landed awkwardly on his thumb and was forced to miss the rest of the game.

    The worst play this week, and the main reason this unit gets such a poor grade, came from Perry. He jumped offsides on a field-goal attempt in the final minutes that turned into a game-winning touchdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    It was a ridiculously foolish play and one that ultimately cost the Packers the game.

     

    Final Grade: C- 

Cornerbacks

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Key Players: Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde

    For the majority of the game, both Williams and Shields were completely dominated by wide receiver Antonio Brown. He had no difficulties getting open and torched the Green Bay Packers for 105 yards on six receptions.

    The only cornerback to stop Brown from making a play was Hyde. He continued his strong play in the secondary to end his rookie campaign.

    While the cornerbacks ultimately kept the Pittsburgh Steelers passing game in check for most of the second half, their inability to contain Brown was a big reason why the Steelers were able to put points on the board on a consistent basis.

    There's definitely potential with this group, especially when Casey Hayward is finally healthy, but too often this year they have been mediocre and failed to make plays.

     

    Final Grade: C

Safeties

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Key Players: Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Sean Richardson

    For the 16th straight week, the Green Bay Packers saw their safeties play an awful game. The worst part about that previous sentence is that it isn't an exaggeration at all.

    The safeties have struggled all year to make any type of plays that resulted positively for the defense. Jennings has been the worst offender by far, but Burnett has started to close the gap in these final weeks of the season.

    Even Richardson, who has played decently in recent weeks, struggled in this game. He gave up a touchdown reception to tight end Matt Spaeth late in the third quarter simply due to a lack of proper positioning. 

    This group has easily been the worst unit for the Packers this season, and that didn't come close to changing on Sunday afternoon.

     

    Final Grade: D-

Special Teams

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Key Players: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Micah Hyde

    It was an absolutely awful game from the special teams this week for the Green Bay Packers. 

    Not only did the coverage team give up a number of huge returns, but nearly every other aspect of special teams struggled. Outside linebacker Nick Perry jumped offsides on a field-goal attempt from the Pittsburgh Steelers which ultimately led to the game-winning touchdown. 

    Crosby also had a field goal blocked, although it was washed out by an interesting penalty call on Pittsburgh. The only player on this unit that played well was Hyde, who had a number of large returns.

    In fact, Hyde's play is the only reason that this group didn't get a failing grade this week.

     

    Final Grade: D