The defense helped the lead stand up and, despite not playing very well, the Steelers head home to Pittsburgh with a crucial division win over the hated Ravens. Let’s see how each unit did.
Despite being down for most of the game and being manhandled in the trenches by the Baltimore defense, this team continued to battle until the very end and finally made the big play on defense that helped win the game. The way Isaac Redman willed his way into the end zone despite being stopped shows exactly why they earned this grade.
Despite an injured foot and a broken nose (compliments from a blow that drew no penalty), Ben Roethlisberger kept his composure and managed the game. He was a bit inaccurate in the first half, and his receivers dropped some critical third-down passes, but the Steelers kept battling. Roethlisberger’s scramble away from Terrell Suggs on the final drive was an amazing play that saved the Steelers seven precious yards.
Running Backs: C
Due to the inability of the offensive line to block the Ravens, Rashard Mendenhall was getting hit two yards behind the line of scrimmage on almost every running play. The fact he managed to eke out 45 yards is rather impressive given that scenario. Redman had the only offensive touchdown of the night for the Steelers, and it was a thing of beauty.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B
Hines Ward and Emmanuel Sanders made some critical drops on third down early on, but the receivers kept making plays when needed down the stretch. I also think the unit did a very good job of blocking in the second half, despite the loss of Heath Miller on a helmet-to-helmet hit that, like the blow to Roethlisberger’s head, was not penalized.
Offensive Line: F
This unit got absolutely destroyed all night long by the Ravens' defensive line and linebackers. The Steelers should look into charging Terrell Suggs rent, considering he lived in the backfield. This was a completely dismal performance, and to be honest it is quite stunning the Steelers managed to score a touchdown at the end to win it.
Defensive Front Seven: A+
The front seven really came to play today. They did their usual great job of stuffing the run, but they also added four sacks and made life miserable for Joe Flacco all day long. The pressure they generated on the final fourth down forced Flacco to throw the ball short, and the Steeler victory was preserved.
The grade would be higher if not for the awful play of Bryant McFadden tonight. He was beaten horribly for huge gains and committed numerous defensive penalties that helped sustain drives. He allowed the Ravens to get close to field-goal range that should have given them the chance to tie the game. Troy Polamalu’s forced fumble was the play of the game. Without it, the Steelers are likely headed home with a loss.
Special Teams: B-
Shaun Suisham made both of his field goal kicks, along with some punting as the injury fill-in for Dan Sepulveda. I do think the coverage units could have done a bit better of a job covering kicks, and they committed some really dumb penalties that negated better kicks from Suisham.
Maybe my eyes were deceiving me, but it sure looked like the Steelers actually called some short passes in the second half to try and negate the Ravens blitz. It worked. I have to give offensive coordinator Bruce Arians some credit for actually trying to help us win a game tonight. It was hard to get anything going on offense given the pathetic line play, so I’ll take the “W.”
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