Offensive grades: Air assault continues against Lions

Ben Roethlisberger stole the show again yesterday against Detroit, with another solid performance from Rashard Mendenhall helping him out.

The Steelers moved the ball with ease until the 4th quarter, where Bruce Arians’ curious reliance on the passing game led to a few short drives and helped Detroit claw back into the game.

Grades after the jump…


Quarterbacks: B
Roethlisberger played a great game and the fact that he’s earning a B when he had a 123.9 QB rating shows the high level he’s been playing at. Roethlisberger made great plays up and down the field, but a few big mistakes are the reason why I lowered his grade. Obviously, the pick-6 he threw on an out route to Mike Wallace was a back breaker. One ill-advised throw let the Lions back into the game and put pressure on the Steelers defense. It’s the second week in a row Roethlisberger has thrown an intcereption returned for a TD. He also made another poor throw over the middle that was intercepted, but the play was taken back because of a personal foul. It was certainly a solid game by Ben, but he needs to cut down on the mistakes before the Steelers play a better team and I certainly expect he will.

Running backs: A-
Mendenhall wasn’t quite as explosive as he was last week, but he still showed good burst and broke a lot of tackles. He continues to be a farily reliable receiver out of the backfield and had a couple more catches. He would have easily reached 100 yards if Arians ran the ball more in the second half. Mewelde Moore continued his streak as an elite 3rd down back with three catches. The two make for a really solid attack out of the backfield and I’m admittedly very excited about what Mendenhall has brought to the table the past couple weeks.

Wide receivers: B+
Santonio Holmes was still MIA for large portions of the game, but Hines Ward and Heath Miller continued to be reliable targets and made a ton of underneath catches. Mike Wallace had an up and down game but overall, I was encouraged. Young wideouts typically have a problem catching the ball early on. Holmes and before him Plaxico Burress went through the same trials and they turned out alright, I’d say. Wallace has proven that he can get open deep and one drop isn’t going to change my high opinion of him. All the receivers did a great job of running after the catch. Ward and Miller plowed through tacklers on the way to the endzone a couple times and it was great to see.

Offensive line: B
The run blocking was decent most of the game, but they wore down in the second half. The Lions started getting consistent pressure to Roethlisberger and they just seemed out of sync. Still, a “B” game from the offensive line is nothing to sneeze at and guys like Chris Kemoeatu continue to get better in spurts.

Offensive coaching: C
I understand what Arians tried to do. The passing game was working wonders in the first half and he spent the second half going for the jugular. One more TD puts the game well out of reach in the 3rd or early 4th quarter. But he had a chance to roll with the balanced attack that he always preaches about and didn’t do it. Mendenhall and the offensive line were also dominating in the first half but Arians wouldn’t go back there, which was strange especially in the 4th quarter when the Stees were nursing a lead. I understand that this is Roethlisberger’s team, but with the way Mendy has been running lately, you’ve got to at least work some clock late in that game. Arians did a great job keeping the Lions off balance in the first half and hopefully he can repeat that as the year goes on. This offense can win a football game a lot of different ways when they are on and I think Arians understands that. He just got carried away yesterday and became way too one sided.