As expected, the Steelers had a difficult time running the football against this line and the Jets defense. They didn’t even average 3 yards per carry, so that is a positive. However, they could never get any consistent pressure on Big Ben, and when they did, they couldn’t bring him down. This defense let him break tackles far too much, as they let the entire Pittsburgh offense break tackles far too much. Whether they got tired, or whatever, it can’t happen. There were missed tackles at the end of the Buffalo game, but we all passed that off on the big league. Now, you have to worry that this is starting to become a trend.
Same story for the linebackers as the line. For the most part, good job against the run. But too many missed tackles, and not enough pressure on the quarterback. When they did get pressure on the quarterback, they could not wrap up. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine put them in good positions to succeed. Often times, they had a free rusher coming on the blitz, that gave them a free shot on Ben. But they didn’t cash in. A big guy like Roethlisberger has to be tackled low. If you go high like the Jets did, he is going to make you miss more often than not.
Garrett McIntyre made some nice plays, recording 2 sacks on the night, that kept the linebackers at a C+.
Without Darrelle Revis, this group looked absolutely terrible. You have to begin with the stupid penalties. LaRon Landry is a wonderful presence in the secondary, but he has to keep his play on the right side of the line of aggressive, vs. stupid. Yesterday, his two penalties were stupid. He has to know better than to take a late hit out of bounds penalty, and not grab guys by the collar. Even the blind replacement refs are going to make that call.
The grade can come all the way down to a D on the Antonio Cromartie play. On that touchdown he gave up, the ball had so much hang time it looked like a punt. Can you have some idea where the ball is Antonio? Just a terrible play, and a terrible day for the defensive backs.
The specials were fine for the most part, but when you muff a punt after a big defensive stop, you change the momentum so drastically that it can be difficult to recover. That play affects the grade as much as an essay does on a short test. It’s huge.
Hopefully this team can earn some credit back next week.