Week 7 for the Pittsburgh Steelers was a tale of two halves. The first half was a dominant performance against one of the best teams in the AFC. The second half was a lackluster performance that almost cost the team the game. Here are my week 7 grades for the Steelers in their 27-24 win over the Titans:
Steelers Week 7 Grades
For the offense, week 7 was defined by two very different halves of football. The Steelers had five possessions in the first half of Sunday’s game. On those five possessions, they put up 24 points, including two touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson. The only possession that didn’t end in a score was their final possession of the half, which consisted of only one play: a hail mary attempt by Ben Roethlisberger that was intercepted in the endzone.
When the second half started it looked like more of the same for the Pittsburgh offense. They drove right back down the field on their first drive of the half and scored a field goal to go up 27-7. Those ended up being the last points they scored. Over the next 25 minutes, the Steelers failed to extend their lead or put the game away.
In the second half, Roethlisberger threw two more interceptions. The first came on a deflected pass at the line. His second interception, which came on another good drive by the team, was on an ill-advised throw. Yes, he had Juju Smith-Schuster one-on-one with a linebacker, but the Titans also had safety help in the area. The ball was thrown between three Titans, bounced off of Jayon Smith’s helmet as Smith-Schuster went for the catch, and was intercepted.
Had the Steelers offense been able to produce more in the second half it would have put the game out of reach. Instead, costly turnovers put the defense in a bad spot and almost cost them the game.
Grade – First Half: A+, Second Half: D-
The Steelers’ defense had another solid performance Sunday. It was, again, a tale of two halves. So far this season the Steelers defense has had a suspect half and a dominant half. Sunday was no different.
In the first half, the Steelers allowed only 7 points. They also allowed the Titans only one drive with a first down. On that touchdown drive, the Titans also caught two huge breaks. First, was a deflected pass that landed in the arms of Adam Humphries on a third and nine play. The second came on a Ryan Tannehill fumble that bounced right to a Titans tight end.
Some of the Steelers’ defense’s misfortunes in the second half were just bad luck. On a pass that looked like it was going to be deflected Minkah Fitzpatrick attacked to get an interception. Instead, the ball came through clean AJ Brown caught it and there was no one around to make the tackle on a 73-yard touchdown.
Following Roethlisberger’s second interception the defense held the Titans to negative three yards on three plays. Unfortunately, they were already in field goal position and got three points on that drive. Late in the game, the defense started to look worn down against Derrick Henry in the run game. He had his best two drives at the end of the second half. The first on a touchdown drive that made the game 27-24. The second best drive for Henry came at the end of the game on a drive that resulted in a missed field goal.
The Steelers special team’s unit continues to come up big week after week.
Chris Boswell has been absolutely automatic so far this season on field goals and extra points. Even more impressive is how many of his kicks are right down the middle. He isn’t even coming close to missing kicks.
Jordan Berry returned to the team this week to take over as the new punter. He averaged 50 yards per-punt a bid increase over Dustin Colquitt, who was cut. If Berry can be consistent he should keep this job.
One of the biggest impacts this year continues to come in the form of return man Ray-Ray McCloud. McCloud had a huge 57-yard punt return in the first half to set up a touchdown drive.