BAL-PIT Grades: Career night for Cameron Heyward
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Ravens-Steelers game:
– 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.
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)
– 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.
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)