PIT-MIA grades: Landry, Maxwell stand out in Dolphins’ win

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Dolphins’ the Steelers.

| 8 months ago
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

PIT-MIA grades: Landry, Maxwell stand out in Dolphins’ win

Miami Dolphins 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 15

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Dolphins’ 30-15 win over the Steelers in Week 6:

Miami Dolphins

Quarterback grade: Ryan Tannehill, 82.4

Tannehill takes what Steelers’ defense gives him short

Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill earned his second-highest grade of the season in Miami’s win, completing 24 of 31 aimed passes for 252 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs. For the most part, he attacked the Pittsburgh defense with underneath throws, as 24 of his 31 attempts traveled less than 10 yards downfield, but he connected on two deep shots down the left sideline for a total of 92 yards that proved to be big plays in this one. His offensive line did an excellent job of keeping him upright, allowing pressure on just five of his 32 dropbacks, but he completed four of five throws when the Steelers’ pass rush did get to him, for 73 yards.

Top offensive grades:

WR Jarvis Landry, 85.3
QB Ryan Tannehill, 82.4
TE MarQueis Gray, 80.9
T Branden Albert, 77.2
G Laremy Tunsil, 76.1

Landry, Gray, Ajayi make plays for Tannehill

Slot receiver Jarvis Landry earned the top offensive grade of the game, dispersing his seven receptions (off of eight targets) for 91 yards among five different Steelers defenders, with 44 of his yards coming after the catch. Tight end MarQueis Gray caught all three passes thrown his way for 81 yards. Jay Ajayi was Miami’s clear-cut lead back in this one, even with Arian Foster returning to the field, and he put up 204 yards and two touchdowns on his 25 carries, producing two broken tackles and 148 yards after contact. The Miami offensive line struggled as run-blockers but performed very well in pass protection, not allowing any sacks and giving up just five total pressures all game.

Top defensive grades

CB Byron Maxwell, 94.7
LB Kiko Alonso, 82.1
S Reshad Jones, 80.3
DI Ndamukong Suh, 78.5
ED Cameron Wake, 77.9

Miami CB Maxwell shuts down Steelers star WR Brown

The standout performance in this one came from cornerback Byron Maxwell, who struggled mightily a year ago with Philadelphia after signing a big-money free-agent deal, and was benched a couple of weeks ago. He was targeted eight times and gave up four catches, but for only 29 total yards, while knocking away four passes. Five of those targets came when covering Steelers star wideout Antonio Brown, and he allowed three catches for just 23 yards. We also saw positive progress from WR-to-CB convert Tony Lippett, after the Dolphins lost promising 2016 second-round rookie CB Xavien Howard for about a month to a meniscus tear. Lippett aptly stepped into the role to limit Pittsburgh receivers to three completions, with an average of five yards on seven targets. Defensive ends Cameron Wake and Andre Branch combined for three sacks.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback grade: Ben Roethlisberger, 53.9

Roethlisberger struggles overall, and is awful facing pressure

Ben Roethlisberger had to briefly leave Sunday’s loss due to a knee injury – backup Landry Jones earned a 55.8 grade in just four snaps while relieving him – but when he was on the field, he struggled against the Dolphins’ defense. He only completed one of his six attempts of 20-plus yards, and on the nine (out of a total of 36) dropbacks he was under pressure, he earned a passer rating of 0.0 for his two completions for 14 yards, 0 touchdowns, one interception and two sacks.

Top offensive grades

T Alejandro Villanueva, 75.2
WR Cobi Hamilton, 74.6
C Maurkice Pouncey, 73.7
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, 72.6
WR Antonio Brown, 72.0

Stars Brown, Bell held in check by Miami

The Steelers’ star duo of WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell were largely kept in check by the Dolphins’ defense, with Brown totaling just four catches for 39 yards on seven targets and Bell proving to be more effective as a pass-catcher (six catches for 55 yards on seven targets) than he was as a runner (10 carries for 53 yards). Miami was effective at disrupting Roethlisberger, as he was sacked twice and pressured nine times.

Top defensive grades

DI Stephon Tuitt, 87.2
DI Javon Hargrave, 81.2
CB Ross Cockrell, 77.1
DI Daniel McCullers, 75.2
LB Vince Williams, 72.8

Tuitt, Hargrave fare well in run defense

The standout for the Pittsburgh defense in this one was defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, who was a beast in the running game, earning four run stops, while also contributing positively as a pass-rusher, recording three total pressures (two hits, one hurries). Nose tackle Javon Hargrave joined Tuitt in disrupting Miami’s running game, grading very well in that facet of the game.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Dolphins CB Byron Maxwell

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.

| Editor-in-Chief

Jeff is the Editor-in-Chief of PFF, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post's NFL coverage. He previously worked as the editor for ESPN Insider's NFL, Fantasy, and College Football coverage.

  • Throw Marino13

    Is there any reason I should regard any of this article as reliable after you state Miami struggled in run-blocking?

  • evilmonkeycss

    why is jay ajayi grade not even listed?

  • Derrick

    Let’s see:
    -“The Miami line struggled as run blockers”,
    -“2 Steelers starting linemen fare well in run defense”
    -Jay Ajayi isn’t among Miami’s five highest-grade players on offense

    And yet the Dolphins rushed for over 200 yards.

    Something isn’t adding up.

    • DaStrongSKRAWN

      Lol conspiracy I tell ya

    • corners

      You should go read the reason for why elliot is on thetop10 list and ajayi is not

      Here it is
      “There were some impressive running performances this week, but Elliott
      gets the nod on this list because he did it against the league’s No. 1
      rushing defense heading into the week in Dallas’ win over Green Bay.
      Some of that is a product of the teams that the Packers had faced, but
      Elliott did plenty of heavy lifting in this game, gaining 101 of his 157
      rushing yards after contact, and breaking four tackles to do it.”

      Ajayi had over 140 yards after contact,and without good blocking. Against the steelers

  • JJ Watt eat dirt

    What heck??? “Struggled in run blocking” what game did yall watch?

  • CountMahdrof

    Damn shame Miami couldn’t run block. C’mon Fins. Only 223 rushing yards. You’d best get to blocking, or a coach may bench you on the advice of PFF. This is why I scoff at beat writers who quote this drivel as “journalism”.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Well I guess in hindsight we should have seen this coming. I mentioned in another article it was a classic trap game. The Steelers came in with a lot of walking wounded and clearly didn’t want to risk adding to that list with a key matchup with the Patriots looming next week. The Dolphins had their best effort of the year but it was against an opponent that was just going through the motions….they will probably revert back to their previous form again.

  • Matt

    Can no one read on this site? If Ajayi rushed for 204 yards but 148 of those yards came after contact, then the offensive line really only helped Ajayi rush for 56 yards. Simple math. Ajayi rushed for the additional 148 yards by breaking tackles the offensive line was suppose to block for him, hence the poor run blocking grades. Wow 56 yards?! So impressive!! Give the o-line all 90’s!!