PIT-SEA Grades: Seahawks prevail in high-scoring affair
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Seahawks’ 39-30 win over the Steelers:
– Although he didn’t connect on all of them, QB Ben Roethlisberger put on a clinic in deep passing. He finished the game three of 10 on passes 20+ yards in the air, but on several of those incompletions, Roethlisberger delivered dimes against tight coverage that were either defended well or bobbled by his receiver. Take a look at his throws at 14:28 and 2:47 of the first quarter, or at 7:27 of the fourth, for examples. Otherwise, Roethlisberger had a solid game apart from of a pair of untimely interceptions that the Seahawks capitalized on. He was particularly good when pressured with a +4.5 grade on those plays, but more often nullified the rush with quick passes.
– Coming into the game, WR Markus Wheaton hadn’t caught more than two passes in a game since the team’s opening game against New England. Against the Seahawks he shattered that mark, hauling in nine of 12 targets (both career-highs) which resulted in 202 yards and a touchdown. Six of those catches gained either a first down or touchdown (4Q, 11:51), while two more put the Steelers offense in favorable positions on 1st-and-10. Doing the bulk of his work against CB Jeremy Lane (-2.2) and LB Bobby Wagner, Wheaton provided an effective alternative for Ben with Antonio Brown covered by Richard Sherman for much of the game.
– Rough day at the office for the Steelers secondary, particularly cornerbacks Antwon Blake (-5.3) and Ross Cockrell (-3.5). They combined to allow 14 receptions on 16 targets; three of which went for touchdowns, while Russell Wilson had a passer rating above 153 on those plays. Blake had a particularly rough time tackling, missing five on the day, and got called for two penalties in punt coverage.
RT Marcus Gilbert (+5.6)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (+4.7)
WR Markus Wheaton (+4.4)
C Cody Wallace (+2.9)
RB DeAngelo Williams (+2.7)
– CB Richard Sherman spent much of the game covering one of the NFL’s best receivers in Antonio Brown, and he played well while getting away with some physical play. Brown caught three of nine passes against him, gaining just 24 yards on those plays. Sherman did get help from his teammates on a couple occasions, including at 2:47 of the first quarter, which required a hit from Earl Thomas to force the incompletion.
– Solid, efficient game for Russell Wilson after finishing with a perfect passer rating on 27 aimed attempts (not counting two throwaways and a batted pass). He didn’t quite match Roethlisberger’s sublime deep passing (three total deep attempts), but was perfect working at intermediate distance, completing all eight passes there for 194 yard and four of his five touchdowns. This was also his second straight game without a turnover-worthy throw.
– Much of Wilson’s success was due to the play of WR Doug Baldwin, who was on the receiving end of three touchdown passes, including a spectacular 80-yard catch at 2:14 of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Pittsburgh made it somewhat easy for him on several of those plays, such as at 8:20 of the fourth quarter falling for his double move, but this was still one of Baldwin’s best games of the season. He gained 99 of his 145 yards after contact, in part due to four broken tackles – only four receivers have forced more missed tackles this season than Baldwin’s 14.
RT Garry Gilliam (+5.3)
WR Doug Baldwin (+2.7)
QB Russell Wilson (+2.4)
CB Richard Sherman (+2.1)
DT Ahtyba Rubin (+1.9)