Steelers vs. Packers: Game Grades and Analysis for Pittsburgh

Dan Snyder@@dsnyder34Correspondent IDecember 22, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 15: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a second quarter pass while playing the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on December 15, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In may be the best game we've seen in the 2013 NFL season. This Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers kept their very slim playoff hopes alive with a win against the Green Bay Packers

Le'Veon Bell recorded the team's first 100-yard rushing performance in 23 games and the defense forced two turnovers en route to a Steelers victory. Pittsburgh can savor the win tonight, but their focus will shift to Cleveland in an all-important Week 17 showdown. 


Steelers: 38

Packers: 31 

Pittsburgh Steelers Game Grades
Positional Unit1st Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseCC-
Run OffenseAA+
Run DefenseDD
Pass DefenseC-B-
Special TeamsA-B
@ Packers, Week 16

Final Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Pass Offense: It was a very, very mediocre day for the Steelers passing game. Ben Roethlisberger totaled just 167 yards through the air for just two touchdowns. He connected on 16 of his 28 passes and threw one interception. Roethlisberger's accuracy was less consistent in the second half, but he did enough to lead his team to victory. Look for Roethlisberger and the passing game to recover next week against Cleveland.

Run Offense: You couldn’t ask for a much better game from the Steelers ground attack. Bell became the first Pittsburgh back to top the 100-yard mark in 23 games with his 124 on 26 carries.

The Steelers ran for 151 yards and two scores as a team, more than doubling their average rushing yards per game for the season. The line looked great in the win and, if they could have blocked like this every week, we’d be talking about a whole different Steelers team.

Run Defense: Well, it certainly wasn’t a banner day for this unit by any stretch of the imagination, but the Steelers run defense will take the win. As a unit, they gave up 151 yards on the ground, 84 of which came from Eddie Lacy.

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Pittsburgh got better when Lacy left the game with a lower leg injury, but that has more to do with Lacy than the Steelers defense. Pittsburgh's front seven need to improve. They were dominated this afternoon.

Pass Defense: Pittsburgh did a very good job of breaking down Matt Flynn and the passing attack today. Flynn finished the game with 232 yards on 21-of-39 passing with one touchdown and one interception.

Flynn's lone interception was a pick-six to Cortez Allen and the Steelers also forced a fumble late in the game. For the second straight week, Pittsburgh did not allow a play of over 50 yards on defense. So, there’s that too. Overall, it was a good day for the secondary.

Special Teams: It was a very odd day for the Steelers special teams unit. First, the good. Mat McBriar converted an huge fourth down and Steve McLendon blocked a field goal (which the Steelers didn’t get because of a questionable NFL rule). Now, the bad. The special teams unit gave up a 71-yard kick return by Micah Hyde in the fourth quarter, but the Steelers had poor coverage all day.

Coaching: It was exciting and painful to watch all at the same time, but the Steelers got the job done. Offensively, they seem to play much better from behind and really struggle when holding a lead. Defensively, they are really banged up and aren’t playing well right now. Regardless of both, they got the job done. Amazing.

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 22: Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs against the Green bay Packers 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 Pittsburgh Steelers

Pass Offense: It was only an average half for Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing attack. Pittsburgh mustered only 88 yards through the air in the half and Roethlisberger completed just over half of his 14 pass attempts.

It’s a bit disappointing considering the Packers secondary isn’t very good. The weather may have something to do with it, but it just looks like the Steelers pass attack isn’t clicking early.

Run Offense: This is the best half the Steelers have had running the football all season long. Bell has powered his way through this Packers defense to the tune of 71 yards on 12 carries.

Pittsburgh has 78 rush yards in the half and looks very comfortable on the ground. Bell has done a tremendous job of finding the holes and bursting into the Packers secondary. The Steelers will need to keep this up in the second half.

Run Defense: It was an ugly first half by the Steelers run defense. Lacy has gashed the Pittsburgh front seven for 68 yards and a score on just nine carries.

As a team, the Packers have run for 75 yards and averaged over six yards per carry. If Pittsburgh can’t find a way to slow down Lacy and the Packers run game, they won’t stand a chance in the second half.

Pass Defense: Flynn has been very efficient for the Packers in the first half, throwing for 137 yards and a score while hitting on 14 of his 19 throws.

A lot of Flynn’s passes have been underneath with the Steelers giving up a ton of yards after the catch. Surprisingly, Pittsburgh has had a really hard time tackling the Packers skill players today. Pressure has been good on Flynn, but they need to create a big play.

Special Teams: The Steelers have had a really nice start to their return game. Both Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders have had sizable returns that have put the Steelers in good position. The Packers also fumbled on a kickoff, but Pittsburgh was unable to pick it up.

Coaching: After a few early mental mistakes (a false start and a delay of game on the first drive), the Steelers really settled into this game. With the snow coming down hard at Lambeau, the Steelers have continued to run their offense relatively well. They will, however, need to make some adjustments on the defensive side.

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