PFF Preview: Steelers @ Panthers, Week 3
The Carolina Panthers have continued their success from 2013 by starting this season 2-0, but they will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 coming off an extra three days of rest. The two will face off in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers defense has been superb through two games and is currently ranked second in the league in the overall defense category with a +22.3. The Panthers lost one of their leading cornerbacks in free agency, but have still managed to play well in pass coverage. Their pass coverage grade throughout the first two weeks is a +9.2, which ranks them second in the league in the category. Leading the defense in the pass coverage category is linebacker Luke Kuechly who has earned a +4.3, which is already an improvement from his entire 2013 pass coverage grade of +4.1.
The Steelers started the season well, but regressed in their Week 2 loss. One constant has been the play of receivers Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton who have overall grades of +3.9 and +2.9 through two games, respectively. Brown has amassed 86 yards after the catch on 12 receptions. Each of the receivers have played 125 snaps or more so far this season, so it is clear they will be a main part of the Steelers’ offense going forward.
The matchup between the Panthers’ pass coverage and the Steelers’ receivers will be one to watch. Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Greg Olson – The Panthers’ tight end leads the league in yards after catch for a tight end with 79. He has 14 receptions on 19 targets without a drop this season.
Bene Benwikere – The rookie cornerback has allowed a completion on 44.4% of passes thrown in his area, while earning the second-best overall grade in the league for a cornerback with a +3.9.
Kawann Short – Short has six stops, two QB hits, and two QB hurries on his way to earning a +7.5 grade overall, which ranks him as the No. 2 defensive tackle.
Le’Veon Bell – This Steeler running back has forced misses on 15 tackles so far this year helping him earn the highest Elusive Rating of any back in the league with a 119.9
William Gay – The defensive back has been used specifically in pass coverage with 27 of his 35 snaps coming against the pass where he has earned a +2.1 grade.
Maurkice Pouncey – After missing the entire 2013 season, Pouncey has been consistent in pass blocking earning a +1.5 and allowing only one QB hurry thus far.
Recently at PFF