BAL-PIT Grades: Career night for Cameron Heyward

The top takeaways from Thursday's Ravens-Steelers game, including the highest graded players from each team.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

BAL-PIT Grades: Career night for Cameron Heyward


Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Ravens-Steelers game:

Baltimore Ravens

– The Ravens ground game was able to make up for the shortcomings of their quarterback, thanks to a combination of Marshal Yanda (+4.7) leading the offensive line from the front with a powerful display and catching the Steelers in bad plays on blitzes, which allowed the Ravens to pick up some big gains. Yanda had control of Stephon Tuitt (-2.6) all night long and his work helped the Ravens pave the way for Justin Forsett (-0.9) to gain 100 of his 150 yards before contact, while churning out 67 yards on three carries in the second half and overtime.

– Acquired from the Dolphins last week, CB Will Davis (+2.0) made his Ravens debut last night, registering 22 snaps in sub packages, with 13 of those snaps coming after halftime. Davis’ three targets were his first since Week 4 last season against Oakland, and the Ravens newest addition surrendered just one catch for eight yards to Antonio Brown (-0.3) late in the first half while breaking up a slant targeted for Sammie Coates (-0.2) on a third down late in the fourth quarter.

– This may have been the 83rd victory of Joe Flacco’s (-7.9) career but this will not go down as a game that he won for the Ravens. At times, Flacco did his best to ensure that the Ravens slid to 0-4, throwing a dreadful interception against a Steelers’ blitz in the second quarter, and coughing the ball up on three fumbles (two muffed and recovered snaps). Beyond the poor ball handling, Flacco struggled passing the ball to every level of the field with a negative PFF passing grade on short, intermediate and deep passes last night.

Top performers:

RG Marshal Yanda (+4.7)

NT Brandon Williams (+3.2)

WR Kamar Aiken (+2.3)

CB Will Davis (+2.0)

S Will Hill (+1.8)

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

– Until the Week 9 game at home last season, Cameron Heyward (+7.8) had struggled to produce his best form against the Ravens. Last night, he put in the best game of his career against Baltimore—the best game of his career against any opponent, in fact. While others around him were getting moved by the Ravens’ line, or creating space for Justin Forsett (-0.9) to pick up uncontested chunk plays, Heyward was disruptive against both the run and pass, leading the team with six stops.

– In terms of productivity, this was all about the battle between the two ground games (and the two running backs, in particular). From an individual perspective, Le’Veon Bell (+2.6) got the better of Forsett, doing much of the heavy lifting for himself as the Steelers struggled to cope with the inside disruption of Brandon Williams (+3.2). Bell gained 97 of his 129 yards after contact, while tying a career-high with 10 missed tackles forced.

– The Steelers came out with a conservative game plan, but QB Michael Vick (+0.1) was unable to hit the regulation short throws to see that plan to victory, notably in overtime. While he showed that he could still drive the ball outside the numbers (six-for-seven, 83 yards, and one touchdown on intermediate throws) he struggled with short passes completing only 6-of-10 passes for 38 yards, with a PFF passing grade of -1.9 on throws targeted between zero and nine yards past the line of scrimmage.

Top performers:

DE Cameron Heyward (+7.8)

HB Le’Veon Bell (+2.6)

OLB James Harrison (+2.6)

FS Michael Mitchell (+2.0)

LT Kelvin Beachum (+1.8)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Jim Winslow

    This game was painful to watch lol. (Mike Tomlin needs to be fired)

    • Lord Father

      you guys are brutal on a hc with soo many injuries. 3rd string kicker, all pro QB out…like not many teams would have been in the game under the same circumstances

      • garion333

        Third string kicker? Like that matters??
        Granted, Ben is a gigantic loss for them and the Ravens should’ve steam rolled Vick.

        • Ross McCorkle

          What do you mean “like that matters”? We would have never gone into overtime(and won) if our kicker made the relatively routine kicks.

        • Lord Father

          “like that matters”? All kickers are created equally hey? that’s why some kick 90% ad other 75% like that matters….I lov the ravens but their not that good right now. Pitt should have won and they barely asked vick to do anything

      • Jim Winslow

        Yeah but the ravens are awful in the secondary, and you attack them with three yard passes when you have Antonio brown. Also why would you corner back blitz on fourth and ten. That team is stacked they should win against and 0-3 squad especially one without their star receiver most of the game.

        • Sam Doohan

          Well as you recall the Steelers superstar QB wasn’t around for the game, the back-up that they were working with in the off season is injured too. So they asked Vick to throw short and protect the ball. Because throwing long passes with unfamiliar receivers is exactly why so many back ups throw horribly back breaking interceptions in important games. It doesn’t matter if you have Brown or Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss, if you have an untested, older QB throwing the ball going deep is a stupid idea.

          • Jim Winslow

            Yeah but they should of thrown for more than 100 yards. It was a bad game plan especially if you are going against a bad defense and your strength is in the passing game, how are you supposed to win? I understand if it was seattle, but the ravens gave 210 yards to J green nd were ripped apart by derek car and company.

          • Jim Winslow

            If you have play makers you get them involved. They can make your bad qb look passable. When new new England lost Tom brady they still got randy moss involved, and Detroit never shied away from throwing to calvin johnson ever before stafford ( but there team was crap so kind of a different story)

      • Jim Winslow

        they were facing a team themselves that had myriad of injuries they have no excuses.

    • Ridgeback

      They were expected to lose and also playing with Mike Vick on a short week……

    • crosseyedlemon

      The arguments for scrapping Thursday NFL games just gets stronger and stronger. Both teams played very sloppy at times and did their best to give the game away. I don’t know if PFF makes a grading adjustment for players forced to play on a short week but they probably should.

  • Backinmd

    Tomlin stayed too conservative ..Pitt. should have run Bell more,especiailly in the 4th qrt. and OT …That wind thing the announcer’s brought up on the 2 missed FG don’t get it ..The wind was blowing on both sides of the field and nowadays any FG from the 40-45 is automatic …

    • Izach

      How was tomlin too conservative if he didn’t run enough? I thought they got too cute with play call and should have stayed more conservative calling regular plays not the sprint outs and WRs screens and quick throws, those aren’t conservative they are too cute, they needed to run bell more no reason Vick should have attempted 30+ passes or call any designed runs for him that’s not conservative that’s stupid and being too cute. Go back to oldschool “we’re gonna run it & your not gonna stop us”

      • Backinmd

        Pitt. has one of the best running backs in the NFL ..Vick misfired on a few of his short passes ..Conservative was the wrong word …Should have run Bell more ..

        • Izach

          I will say Vick looked too conservative think I counted upwards of 5 passes where he just threw short for no reason including a few to bell that lost yardage and 1 each to brown and DHB as well. It didn’t look like those plays were executed as they were drawn up. But I will say Vick did seem to have some rust or chemistry issues to work out.

      • Backinmd

        Pitt. has one of the best running backs in the NFL ..Vick misfired on a few of his short passes ..Conservative was the wrong word …Should have run Bell more ..

      • Steve

        Yanda ate Tuitt’s lunch, and next to him Cam Thomas sucks.

        • Izach

          I don’t think it was that bad, PFF grades differently, but re watching the game, Did notice tuitt missed a few plays but over all he had more good than bad he’s still in consistent but it’s more 70-30 good-bad the problem was those 30% bad plays were pretty bad, overall tho thought he played well over half the snaps, maybe it was that only the plays he faced Yanda were his bad ones idk but that game didn’t seem to be a -2.6 type game

          • Steve

            Lzach – U need some new glasses. Tuitt was getting blown out 5-10 yards by Yanda. Have you ever played organized football? Have always played the line and 1st think they teach is to fall down when getting blown out. Steelers really miss Dan “Shade Tree” McCullars at NT. Cam Thomas is a poor excuse for a DL.

          • Izach

            Tuitt was making tackles by himself meaningf not only was he fighting off blocks but making tackles while being blocked, he was getting pressure, he was even making tackles in the backfield on a few plays like I said I noticed a few glaringly bad plays but they weren’t his entire game far from it, his few bad plays did happen to be on forsetts runs, but overall there was more good than bad for tuitt. He looks promising as potential goes, does need to get stronger at POA but his athletic traits are why the steelers drafted him and hey showed, he was making plays hat normally would have been bigger gains vs other DEs

          • Izach

            With that said I agree on cam Thomas he’s a waste of space, isn’t athletic enough to play DE but isn’t strong enough or have enough of an anchor to play NT. He is basically just a body.

          • Izach

            Waste of space is harsh, he just doesn’t meet the standard of steeler DL IMO.

          • Izach

            Waste of space is harsh, he just doesn’t meet the standard of steeler DL IMO.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      too conservative and run the ball more in the same sentence is mind boggling, lol

    • Steve

      Scobie already missed 2 fg, so Tomlin didn’t give him a chance of missing a 3rd. Tomlin fIred Scobie today .

  • Backinmd

    Cameron Heywood had a great game last night..never forget his late Dad – Ironhead Heywood..

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  • RC Carlton

    Something is wrong with your system is Rodgers game had a lower grade than Vicks…very wrong

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      no, it’s not.

    • Jim Winslow

      To be fair vicks numbers were a product of pits play calling, he didn’t play terribly. Also with rodgers he only played “bad” because the offense was rolling Rodgers didn’t have to make too many difficult throws, and his mistakes weren’t capilized on. If that game was more contested Rodgers would of graded better in my opinion, because in that game he would have to make difficult throws, here the easy pass was the right pass.

  • Fab

    Ben was out – no doubt – a tough loss.
    By the way, Ravens without Suggs, Canty, Monroe, Perryman, Gilmore and later in the game without Smith…

    • Vitor

      Don’t forget Campanaro. He was sent to IR today…

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