As always, take the grades with a certain grain of salt because they can end up being later amended. They can also sometimes be the byproduct of particular schemes or coverages or setups a team happens to play that week.
Here are a few Bengals grades and notes following the 42-21 loss:
According to PFF, all of offensive tackle Clint Boling's 65 snaps against the Steelers came at the injury-depleted right tackle position. Boling made his first career start at the spot as the Bengals continue figuring out their path forward with Andre Smith done for the year with a triceps injury. Boling's best work came in the run, where he posted a plus-1.8 PFF grade. He also allowed just one quarterback hurry and a quarterback hit on his 42 pass protections.
With Boling blocking on the edge, Mike Pollak came off the bench and started at left guard. He was part of 54 snaps, and didn't allow a single pressure. At plus-2.7 and plus-2.2, respectively, Boling and Pollak had some of the highest overall grades for Bengals linemen.
Veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth also has been strong much of the season in pass protection. PFF's Nate Jahnke tweeted Tuesday Whitworth hasn't allowed a sack or a quarterback hit in his past 11 games. The lineman also has yielded just four quarterback hurries in that stretch. Per Jahnke, in Week 14 alone, 17 tackles across the league allowed four or more pressures.
Reserve receiver Brandon Tate's play-making opportunities grew exponentially Sunday with rookie James Wright out nursing a knee injury. Tate played 32 snaps after participating in just 29 on offense over the previous four weeks.
Quarterback Andy Dalton saw pressure on seven of his 32 dropbacks (21.9 percent), a figure that closely resembles what he has faced all season. PFF said he has a pressure percentage this season of 23.2 percent. By comparison, Atlanta's Matt Ryan has been pressured on 35.6 percent of his dropbacks, and Russell Wilson on 44.8 percent of his this season. He went 5-for-7 for 117 yards and two touchdowns on those plays.
Dalton's 75.9 percent accuracy percentage was eighth best among quarterbacks Sunday. Of his 29 passing attempts, 22 were on target. He had 21 completions and a dropped ball to Mohamed Sanu.
In the last four games, A.J. Green's receiving grade has been a plus-10.2. On Sunday, he received a plus-3.5 receiving grade for catching 11 of 15 targets for a career-high 224 yards and a touchdown, earning him a spot on PFF's Week 14 team of the week.
Linebacker Vincent Rey wasn't very pleased with his afternoon, particularly the way he failed to fit into run gaps during the crucial fourth quarter. Still, there was no denying that he was everywhere, and had a good game statistically. Rey posted a plus-3.7 overall grade. He had nine run stops without missing a tackle, and had one quarterback pressure on his three rush attempts. He also defended a pass in coverage early in the game, and helped stop a key screen on third down. He finished with 15 tackles.
No Bengals lineman had a positive pass-rush grade.