KC-PIT grades: Roethlisberger, Bell impress in rout of Kansas City
Pittsburgh Steelers 43, Kansas City Chiefs 14
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from Steelers’ 43-14 win over the Chiefs:
Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 69.0
Short-passing game limits Chiefs
Alex Smith did on Sunday what Alex Smith usually does: feed playmakers underneath and rely on them to create after the catch. The biggest issue for the Chiefs’ offense was that those plays never came to fruition. Then, instead of switching up the strategy to some degree and pushing the ball downfield, Smith continued to hit checkdowns and shallow crossers. The QB’s average depth of target on the day was only 6.0 yards downfield.
Alex Smith versus pressure in Week 4
Top offensive grades:
RT Mitchell Schwartz, 81.1
WR Chris Conley, 72.3
TE Demetrius Harris, 70.2
WR Albert Wilson, 70.0
WR Jeremy Maclin, 65.7
Drops don’t help comeback effort
Don’t get us wrong, there was many more negatives for the Chiefs on Sunday than solely their drops, but six drops from the Kansas City receivers gave them little hope of digging out of their early hole. Heading into Sunday night, the Chiefs were one of the more sure-handed teams, dropping only 6 percent of their catchable targets through three games. Against the Steelers, that number was 16.7 percent.
Top defensive grades:
DE Jaye Howard, 80.1
S Eric Berry, 72.6
LB Justin March-Lillard, 70.6
OLB Tamba Hali, 68.8
S Eric Murray, 62.9
Night to forget for Chiefs’ defense
To put into perspective just how lopsided of a night it was, Eric Berry finished second among Kansas City’s defense with an overall grade of 72.6; meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s offense saw nine different players finish Sunday night’s game with an overall grade better than 72.6. Playing more than five snaps for the first time in his career, rookie cornerback D.J. White really struggled, allowing all six targets thrown his way to be caught for a total of 95 yards and two touchdowns. The lone bright spot on defense was Jaye Howard, who picked up a sack and had a solid overall performance in run defense. Howard has had somewhat of a roller-coaster season so far; hopefully for Chiefs’ fans, Sunday’s performance was a step towards getting back to the level of play he showed in 2015.
Quarterback grade: Ben Roethlisberger, 83.0
Roethlisberger was fantastic in this one, and frankly, that grade could have been even higher had some of his deeper balls been just slightly more accurate. Regardless, Roethlisberger was firing on all cylinders on Sunday, as he dismantled a very respectable Kansas City defense en route to an early night. Roethlisberger was especially effective out of play action, where he completed six of seven throws for 124 yards, a touchdown, and a sparkling 158.3 QB rating.
Ben Roethlisberger versus pressure in Week 4
Top offensive grades:
RB Le’Veon Bell, 79.7
LG B.J. Finney, 78.7
WR Sammie Coates, 76.3
RG David DeCastro, 75.9
WR Antonio Brown, 75.3
Offense bounces back big
After being humiliated last week in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh’s offense came roaring back with a vengeance in their return home in Week 4. WRs Sammie Coates and Antonio Brown combined to haul in 10 of 13 targets for 142 yards and two touchdowns between them; Roethlisberger had a 151.3 QB rating when targeting those two alone. Both of Pittsburgh’s offensive guards cracked the top-five highest-graded Steelers’ offensive players of the night, but the entire offensive line can pat themselves on the back for the job they did in pass protection; Roethlisberger was pressured on just four dropbacks all night.
Top defensive grades:
DE Stephon Tuitt, 86.0
DE Cameron Heyward, 83.5
S Jordan Dangerfield, 78.3
CB William Gay, 78.1
OLB James Harrison, 77.2
Next men up get the job done
To absolutely stifle the Chiefs’ offense for three quarters, it took standouts from all three levels of the defense. Cameron Heyward got the three sacks, but two of them were a direct result of Stephon Tuitt applying the pressure first, as both played fantastic. Vince Williams filled in swimmingly at inside linebacker for the injured Ryan Shazier. Williams’ six run stops were the most of any player regardless of position this so far this week. In the secondary, Jordan Dangerfield saw the first action of his NFL career, playing 68 snaps at safety. He was targeted twice and allowed only one catch for 3 yards.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.