PIT-WAS grades: Roethlisberger-Brown connection fuels Steelers win
Pittsburgh Steelers 38, Washington Redskins 16
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 38-16 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
Quarterback grade: Ben Roethlisberger, 82.0
Roethlisberger took full advantage of Washington’s insistence on keeping cornerback Bashaud Breeland at right cornerback — instead of moving big-money free-agent signing Josh Norman to shadow Pittsburgh star WR Antonio Brown — by repeatedly feeding Brown on the left side of the field. His passing numbers reflect this, as he completed eight of nine throws to the left of the numbers for 163 yards and two touchdowns, compared to just one of four for two yards on throws to the right.
Top offensive grades:
WR Antonio Brown, 89.9
RT Marcus Gilbert, 85.3
QB Ben Roethlisberger, 81.9
LG Ramon Foster, 79.4
RG David DeCastro, 79.2
PFF’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year has his way with Washington CB Bashaud Breeland
Once Pittsburgh figured out Brown could feast on his matchup against Breeland, the game was effectively over. Brown caught eight of 11 targets on the night, and seven of eight against Breeland. Roethisberger wasn’t completely on target at times, but he didn’t need to be with Brown catching nearly everything thrown his way. We didn’t see the Brown-Norman matchup we had been looking forward to (see the graphic below), as Brown was targeted just twice when Norman was covering him, with zero catches, but that worked out just fine for the Steelers.
While it wasn’t a great night in terms of pass-blocking for most of the offensive line, RT Marcus Gilbert, LG Ramon Foster and RG David DeCastro all were dominant on run blocks, especially on power and counter plays. The Washington linebackers could not get off the blocks of the Steelers offensive linemen, as they paved the way to a big night for running back DeAngelo Williams.
Top defensive grades:
ILB Ryan Shazier, 88.6
CB William Gay, 79.0
DE Cameron Heyward, 75.1
DE Stephon Tuitt, 73.7
OLB Arthur Moats, 73.5
Ryan Shazier grades out as Pittsburgh’s top defender versus both the run and pass
Shazier led the Steelers with eight overall tackles, with two of those being run stops. He was targeted four times in coverage, giving up two catches for 26 yards, but also had an interception and a pass breakup. Conversely, rookie safety Sean Davis had significant struggles, as he yielded catches on six of seven targets and missed four tackles.
Quarterback grade: Kirk Cousins, 44.3
Despite taking just one hit on the night, Cousins had a miserable night passing His inability to work the ball downfield accurately led to short offensive drives for the Redskins, and left the defense on the field for far too long. Cousins completed just four of eight passes longer than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage for 80 yards and an interception — an unacceptable total against a very susceptible defensive secondary.
Top offensive grades:
LT Trent Williams, 84.2
WR DeSean Jackson, 81.9
RT Morgan Moses, 75.4
LG Brandon Scherff, 73.4
WR Pierre Garcon, 71.6
Offensive line grades well across the board
While the offensive line collectively gave up eight hurries, the only hit on Cousins was charged to backup RB Chris Thompson. Williams and C Kory Lichtensteiger had the highest run-blocking grades for Washington, but the duo also accounted for four of the seven penalties that stalled the offense throughout the night. While the team averaged eight yards per carry running off the gaps of Williams and Lichtensteiger, Washington only ran behind them for three carries.
Top defensive grades:
OLB Su’a Cravens, 83.4
ILB Will Compton, 82.6
CB Josh Norman, 81.1
DE Chris Baker, 80.9
ILB Mason Foster, 79.4
Rookie Cravens is one of the few bright spots on Washington defense
14 of Cravens’ 17 snaps were in coverage, where he acquitted himself well. He gave up three receptions on four targets, but only for a total of 12 yards. He also registered a hurry as a pass-rusher. Compton was seemingly involved on every run play, and although at times he struggled to get off of blocks, he still managed to rack up five stops and 13 total tackles.
Breeland’s day started off well, with an interception off a miscommunication between Roethlisberger and rookie WR Eli Rogers, but turned dreadful by halftime. Not only did Brown dismantle him in the passing game, but the normally productive run-stopper missed three tackles, two of them on run plays that turned into key conversions.
Game ball: Steelers WR Antonio Brown
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