NE-PIT grades: Brady, Gronkowski continue hot streak against Steelers

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Patriots' Week 7 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field.

| 8 months ago
Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

NE-PIT grades: Brady, Gronkowski continue hot streak against Steelers

New England Patriots 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 16

Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Patriots’ Week 7 road win over the Steelers.

New England Patriots

Quarterback grade: Tom Brady, 85.9

Brady outstanding again in Patriots win

Tom Brady was again one of the top New England players on the field. As usual, Brady was surgical on short passes, hitting 11 of 13 attempts from 0-9 yards, and one of those incompletions was a drop. If you remove throwaways, batted passes, and drops, Brady was 19-of-23 on the day. Brady did all of this with all of his offensive linemen besides Marcus Cannon earning below-average pass-blocking grades.

Brady vs pressure

Top offensive performances

TE Rob Gronkowski, 89.1

QB Tom Brady, 85.9

OT Marcus Cannon, 84.2

FB James Devlin, 80.2

G Joe Thuney, 78.7

Complete performance from Gronk highlights Pats’ offense

Julian Edelman (60.2 grade) was targeted 10 times against the Steelers, with nine completions and a drop. The real star, however, was Rob Gronkowski, who caught all four balls thrown to him for 94 yards and a touchdown. Most of the Patriots’ success in the rushing game came when running to the edges; Gronkowski was a big part of that, with an 82.3 run-blocking grade.

Top defensive grades:

CB Malcolm Butler, 92.0

LB Jamie Collins, 87.6

S Patrick Chung, 84.7

S Duron Harmon, 81.0

LB Don’t’a Hightower, 79.1

Butler key in slowing Brown down

The Patriots’ defense played a strong game, as they where able to force the Steelers to throw the ball on 50 snaps. The star of the secondary was cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was assigned to Antonio Brown; outside of a 51-yard play, Butler was able to restrict Brown most of the game. Butler knocked down three passes and intercepted another, as he is showing the past two weeks that when he is at his best, he should be in the discussion for one of the top corners in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback grade: Landry Jones, 49.6

Jones struggles to beat Patriots’ secondary downfield

When Ben Roethlisberger was officially listed as out for the week, everyone knew this would be a tough ask of Landry Jones to beat the Patriots; through the first quarter and early parts of the second, however, everything looked to be going according to plan. The Steelers’ offense was able make a few plays to make the game competitive. Jones’ play did slip in the second half, though, as the Steelers had to play catch-up; New England was giving Jones’ the short options, but when the QB attempted a pass over 10 yards, he only completed 43 percent of his targets for 132 yards.

Landry Jones vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

G David DeCastro, 79.0

G Ramon Foster, 78.9

C Maurkice Pouncey, 78.5

WR Antonio Brown, 74.3

T Alejandro Villanueva, 73.4

Steelers’ offensive line solid in pass protection

The Steelers’ offensive line was good in pass protection, allowing just five total pressures in 50 pass-blocking snaps. Landry Jones himself was charged with four more pressures, as he would move into pressure from a clean pocket. However, when the Steelers needed to run the ball, they struggled to open up many holes for Le’Veon Bell, as the Patriots where able to slow down the Pittsburgh RB for most of the game.

Top defensive performances

ED Jarvis Jones, 82.4

CB William Gay, 81.7

CB Ross Cockrell, 81.0

LB Ryan Shazier, 75.8

DI Daniel McCullers, 75.4

Center of Steelers’ defense exposed through the air

The Patriots made a concerted effort form the beginning of the game to attack Pittsburgh’s linebackers and safeties. Lawrence Timmons was tested early against Edelman, allowing eight receptions on nine attempts for 68 yards. Robert Golden was in coverage on both of Gronkowski’s huge catches—one for a 36-yard TD, the other for a 37-yard gain. Lawrence Timmons and Robert Golden earned coverage grades of 38.5 and 37.9, respectively, and were the lowest-graded players in the game.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Patriots CB Malcolm Butler

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.

  • JT

    Butler was getting toasted by Brown all game….the only difference is that Landry Jones isn’t Big Ben otherwise he would of been lit up for nearly 200 yards.

    • Izach

      Agree even the butler INT was a gimmie with how poor Landry threw it, brown was open more than the number of targets he got but Landry couldn’t get him the ball

  • Michael James

    How on earth isn’t Bell on the list? He was exceptional again yesterday, making several three or four yard gains, when every other RB on the planet would have been stopped for a loss.

    • Brendan Booth

      as a patriots fan i’d agree. Bell is a beast.

    • Matt

      3.9 YPC w/ a fumble and no TDs just isn’t that great of a game even with 3 broken tackles.

      • Michael James

        I respect your opinion, but I wholeheartedly disagree here. Bell was by far the best offensive player for the Steelers.

      • Adam Zerner

        YPC is useful as an approximation, but sometimes it doesn’t tell the whole story. There were many plays Bell made something of nothing. I remember a few plays where he was 5 or so yards behind the line of scrimmage about to be tackled, but somehow squirmed back to the line to avoid a big loss. Broken tackles help move us closer to the real story, but not all the way there.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Another article photo begging for a caption, maybe something along the lines of….
    “Well of course I think you sexy Ben, but I’m kinda in a relationship with Roger at the moment”.