Oh boy, what can I say that hasn't already run through your minds over this long weekend? Probably nothing new. So I'll keep this simple -- the Bulls lost. They were outplayed on both sides of the ball and mauled on the front line. The grades will reflect that.
QUARTERBACK (C-): This wasn't the week for Matt Grothe to have an off night. He wasn't particularly bad but he wasn't sharp either. He hurried some throws he didn't have to and gave in on some plays a little too early. Now not all of this is his fault. The offensive line didn't perform and the Pittsburgh defensive backs manhandled Bulls receivers. Outside of a BEAUTIFUL touchdown pass to Hester it was a night to forget.
RUNNING BACKS (C): The running backs gained 89 yards on 22 carries -- a smidgen better than four yards per. This stat tells me that they should have gotten more carries. Mike Ford was running exceptionally well on the Bulls' final scoring drive and should have gotten more carries on their second to last drive. Jamar Taylor appears to be back in the dog house.
WIDE RECEIVERS (C-): Very non-descript night for this unit. Jesse Hester continues to do what he's always done -- catch touchdowns in crucial moments. But it wasn't enough Thursday because the receivers had a tough time finding space to get open while Matt Grothe was in the backfield scrambling for his life.
OFFENSIVE LINE (D): A terrible night for this group as they were whipped by an All-Florida defensive line from Pittsburgh led by Jabaal Shearer and Gus Mataskas. They were not able to get a push very often and many times the unit found itself being overpowered on pass protection -- the cause of four sacks. No real reason to dwell on it but this was an awful performance
DEFENSIVE LINE (B-): The defensive line gets the highest marks of the week because of another strong game on the pass rusher highlighted by Jarriett Buie's sack and forced fumble. They were handled at times by the Pittsburgh offensive line but they held strong considering how much time they spent on the field in the first half. But they wore down in the game and struggled to stop the run.
LINEBACKERS (C): Not so much the plays they made but the plays that they didn't make. The missed tackles are probably the main reason the team lost Thursday. These were crucial missed opportunities to keep the Panthers from scoring but they were never able to make the play. Both Tyrone McKenzie and Kion Wilson missed tackles that could have changed the tempo of the game.
SECONDARY (F): I hate for it to seem like I'm picking on Tyller Roberts but either he's a glaring weakness or a liability on the defense. Right now I'm leaning towards the latter and that's because he has so much responsibility and makes so many mistakes. He's a good cover corner but gets penalized because he has no instincts. He lost contain on McCoy's game winning touchdown because he is never in the right place. The bigger problem is that other teams clearly identify him as the weak spot and are more than willing to attack him with the pass and the run. My guess is he won't be starting in two weeks. Nate Allen had an incredibly stupid personal foul call too.
SPECIAL TEAMS (C-): Loved the blocked punt by my man Quenton Washington and hated everything else from the blocked field goal, the botched fake FG and Alvarado's errant kickoff that gave the Panthers great field position for their game-winning drive.