IND-PIT Grades: Roethlisberger earns season-high grade
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Steelers’ 45-10 victory over the Colts:
– When the Steelers’ passing attack is in a groove like this, there’s not a lot you can do, with the Steelers slowed more by dropping passes than any Colts’ defender getting close in coverage. Ben Roethlisberger (+7.5) was superb throwing down the field to hook up with Antonio Brown (+3.0) and Martavis Bryant, (+0.1) who once again showed his terrifying burst early in the third quarter to torch Greg Toler and outrun an angle from Mike Adams in a performance that would have been even bigger, but for two end zone drops.
– James Harrison continues to play off the bench, but at the same time continues to be the Steelers’ best outside linebacker, putting his younger colleagues to shame. The Steelers started Bud Dupree (-0.7) and Jarvis Jones (+0.3), though both recorded fewer snaps than Harrison (+4.4) and Arthur Moats (+2.2), who combined to record nine pressures on 45 pass rushes, compared to one pressure on 18 pass rushes from the Steelers young starters.
– Consistency has been something that David DeCastro has struggled with to this point in his career, but he has finally delivered on that this season and is currently in the best form of his career. Earning a season-high grade last night (+3.9), DeCastro racked up his ninth straight positively-graded performance with a strong display of run blocking, while surrendering only two hurries in pass protection. For the season, DeCastro has only allowed one sack and one hit, both in Week 8 against next week’s opponent, Cincinnati.
QB Ben Roethlisberger (+7.5)
OLB James Harrison (+4.4)
RG David DeCastro (+3.9)
WR Antonio Brown (+3.0)
CB Ross Cockrell (+3.0)
– The Colts were outmatched in the secondary last night, as their starters all struggled to keep pace with the Steelers’ devastating passing attack. Both starting corners surrendered a pair of touchdowns, with Greg Toler (-3.4) surrendering 100 yards or more in coverage for the fifth time this season in only eight starts, while Vontae Davis (-1.5) surrendered two touchdowns in a game for the first time since doing it in back-to-back weeks against the Texans and Rams midway through the 2013 season.
– The key to Matt Hasselbeck’s season in relief of Andrew Luck has been a quick release, not letting the blitz or the pressure get to him, but the Steelers were able to bring the heat last night, and Hasselbeck felt it both physically and in his performance level. Pressured on nine of his 29 dropbacks, Hasselbeck completed only one of his six pass attempts (two sacks, one scramble) for 19 yards, earning an NFL passer rating of 0.7 under pressure and a PFF passing grade of -2.2. He fared little better against the blitz, with a passer rating of 1.6 on eight pass attempts and a PFF passing grade of -2.3.
– A rare bright spot for the Colts came on the defensive line, where nose tackles Zach Kerr (+3.1) and David Parry (+1.4) turned in their best performances in a number of weeks. Both registered a pair of stops in the run game, with Parry adding a pair of hurries, his first since Week 9, in his first positively-graded game since the Colts’ Week 6 defeat to the Patriots. Kerr, meanwhile, turned in the second-highest grade of his short career, and while this rotation could toughen up the Colts’ run defense, porous pass defense like last night’s will render this improvement largely meaningless.
NT Zach Kerr (+3.1)
LB Sio Moore (+1.8)
S Dwight Lowery (+1.8)
LG Jack Mewhort (+1.7)
RT Denzelle Good (+1.5)