OAK-PIT Grades: Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams shine in win
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Steelers’ 38-35 win over the Raiders.
– QB Derek Carr (+8.8) had by far the best game of his young career yesterday, almost leading his young Raiders’ team to victory thanks to a huge passing performance. Carr looked deep often, completing 11-of-22 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns on passes that traveled over 10 yards. He really only had one bad throw, his interception late in the game. Perhaps the most telling sign on how much he’s improved from last year was his performance when blitzed. Something he struggled mightily with last season, yesterday Carr was blitzed on 51 percent of his dropbacks and went 11-for-22 for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Carr is having a phenomenal season, and after yesterday’s game, is now our fifth highest graded quarterback.
– OLB Khalil Mack (+5.6) led the way for the Raiders’ defense, thanks to a team-high +3.6 pass rush grade. Mack finished with four QB pressures, and also beat his man three other times but was unable to record a pressure due to the quick release of the Steelers’ quarterbacks. Mack was also strong against the run, finishing with a +1.8 grade there despite not making a tackle all game. He was disruptive even though the Steelers ran away from him for the most part. Running the ball away from Mack led to a big game from DE Mario Edwards Jr. (+4.0) who finished with three run stops and many more disruptive plays.
– It was a mixed day in coverage for the Raiders. CB D.J. Hayden (-6.0) struggled, while CB David Amerson (-0.1) had a much more even day, finishing with a +1.5 pass coverage grade. Neither was able to effectively cover Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown, as he caught 8-of-12 for 159 yards against Amerson and eight-of-nine for 119 against Hayden. But Hayden missed a couple of tackles, and also surrendered a touchdown to Martavis Bryant. Amerson had two big pass defenses, as well as an interception, while covering Brown.
QB Derek Carr (+8.8)
OLB Khalil Mack (+5.6)
DE Mario Edwards Jr. (+4.0)
C Rodney Hudson (+2.9)
TE Lee Smith (+2.8)
– What an offensive performance by the Steelers’ main three skill position players. QB Ben Roethlisberger (+5.9) returned to his early-season form, although he’ll now miss a few more weeks with a foot injury. HB DeAngelo Williams (+4.1) showed that the Steelers don’t have to worry too much about losing starter LeVeon Bell, as he broke four tackles and finished with 176 yards (70 after contact) and two touchdowns. But it was WR Antonio Brown (+8.8) that stole the show. His overall grade was the highest we’ve ever recorded for a receiver at PFF. He caught 17-of-23 balls thrown to him for a ridiculous 284 yards. He wasn’t able to score a touchdown, but he was easily the biggest reason the Steelers won yesterday. For more about Brown’s big day, check out this article by Sam Monson.
– The Steelers’ defense did not play well for the most part yesterday. CB Antwon Blake (-6.5) and ILB Lawrence Timmons (-5.0) were the only players to grade negatively in coverage, and they were negative by a lot. Blake was targeted a team-high 15 times, and allowed nine receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. But he was beaten on four of those incompletions, and was only saved by some off-target throws and a dropped pass. He also missed five tackles on the day. Timmons saw 11 targets, but only allowed five completions for 84 yards. However, on two of those incompletions, he was bailed out by a teammate knocking the ball out, and also a couple of dropped passes. Not a strong day for either of those two against a good Raiders’ passing offense.
– The Steelers’ offensive line play was not good yesterday, and the success of their offense was completely in spite of them. Roethlisberger was sacked once and hit another time, and it was the sack that ended up injuring him. But between him and QB Landry Jones (-0.3), they were pressured a ridiculous 18 times. Only G David DeCastro (+0.9) finished with a positive pass blocking grade, and as a unit, they finished with a -10.2 pass blocking grade. They were hardly better blocking the run, as they finished -6.8 overall there. C Cody Wallace (-7.7) finished with the team-low grade, thanks to poor performances in both run and pass blocking, as well as two false start penalties.
WR Antonio Brown (+8.8)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (+5.9)
HB DeAngelo Williams (+4.1)
DE Cameron Heyward (+3.8)
OLB Arthur Moats (+1.3)