Not all losses are created equally in the NFL and the one the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals may have sunk their ship.
Coming into the game most people were expecting a shootout but they got the exact opposite: an old-fashioned defensive slugfest between two division rivals that looked like it belonged in the 70s. Both starting quarterbacks were sloppy and in the end the Bengals came away with a 16-10 win.
The far more damaging news was that Le’Veon Bell was lost for the rest of the season thanks to an MCL tear to his right knee. Pittsburgh now stands at 4-4, which is good for second place in the AFC North but the loss dropped their chances of making the playoffs to 32.9 percent.
There’s no point in crying over it though. The team must move forward and so do we. Here’s our grades for three key Steelers in the game.
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Ben Roethlisberger: C-
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Team A gets the ball for the first time of the game, drives down the field in a hurry and punches in a touchdown without taking five minutes off the clock, embarrassing Team B in the process. Team B gets mad and their defense plays lockdown coverage and shuts down Team A’s offense the rest of the game.
That’s basically what happened with the Steelers and the Bengals yesterday. Roethlisberger’s first drive was everything you could have hoped for: he slung it around and appeared ready for another vintage Big Ben performance.
Then he went out and laid an egg. Roethlisberger’s throws were off, his reads were questionable, and he made some bad decisions with the ball. In the end he finished with just a 57.8 passer rating and threw three picks.
By all rights he should get a D but I’m grading on a curve since it was his first game back and some rust was to be expected.