PIT-NO grades: Roethlisberger, Brown shine in Steelers’ win over Saints

Backup QB Landry Jones also plays well for Pittsburgh. For the Saints, the O-line remains a concern, while CB Delvin Breaux again grades well.

| 3 months ago
(Jonathan Bachman, Getty Images)

(Jonathan Bachman, Getty Images)

PIT-NO grades: Roethlisberger, Brown shine in Steelers’ win over Saints


Pittsburgh Steelers 27, New Orleans Saints 14

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Steelers’ 27-14 victory over the Saints:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback grades: Ben Roethlisberger 73.3; Landry Jones, 83.6

Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones pick apart Saints’ coverage

Ben Roethlisberger looked like he was in midseason form in his preseason debut. He had a perfectly placed pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown that went for a touchdown, and extended another play with his legs to find tight end Jesse James in the end zone. Roethlisberger was in command of the up-tempo offense, but outside of those two throws only one other completion was targeted past the first-down marker.  Landry Jones had a perfect 100 percent adjusted completion percentage, as he completed 19 of 22 pass attempts, with the three incompletions being a drop, a batted pass, and a throw-away. It was Jones’ highest passing grade of his career—preseason or regular season.

jones

Top offensive grades:
QB Landry Jones, 83.6
G Ramon Foster, 80.5
G David DeCastro, 79.2
T Marcus Gilbert, 79.2
WR Antonio Brown, 78.8

Antonio Brown picks up where he left off in 2015

Last year’s top-graded wide receiver Antonio Brown played just 19 snaps in his preseason debut, but made the most of his limited time. He caught all four targets to gain 87 yards and a touchdown, including a 57-yard touchdown against Saints rookie cornerback DeVante Harris.

Top defensive grades:
DT Javon Hargrave, 84.7
CB William Gay, 82.4
LB Vince Williams, 81.4
DE Stephon Tuitt, 80.5
LB Tyler Matakevich, 76.2

Rookie DT Javon Hargrave impresses

Third-round draft pick DT Javon Hargrave was one of the most productive players of the game. On two separate occasions he made Saints rookie center Jack Allen look foolish by beating him almost immediately off the snap. Hargrave finished the game with a sack, two pressures and a batted pass, and was the highest-graded pass-rusher for either team.

New Orleans Saints

Quarterback grade: Drew Brees, 78.2; Luke McCown, 70.6; Garrett Grayson, 35.5

Drew Brees efficient, while Garrett Grayson struggles in loss

Brees had just two passes that traveled 10-plus yards in the air from the line of scrimmage, but both were completions of 20-plus yards. Brees was accurate and made good decisions with the ball, with just one downgraded throw in the game. The same cannot be said for third-string QB Garrett Grayson. He threw two bad interceptions and had another poor decision that was batted away by a corner that very well could have been intercepted, too.

Grayson

Top offensive grades:
FB Austin Johnson, 79.6
WR Willie Snead, 79.6
QB Drew Brees, 78.2
G Senio Kelemete, 77.1
C Max Unger, 76.1

Notable offensive linemen have issues once again

Left guard Tim Lelito gave up two pressures to bring his preseason total to seven in three partial games. Lelito surprisingly has graded below-average in all three games. LT Terron Armstead played just six snaps before leaving the game, but allowed two pressures on three snaps in pass protection and was called for a holding penalty on one. Last year’s first-round pick Andrus Peat continues to struggle after his third-straight below-average game, and is now among the lowest-graded offensive linemen in the league through three games. In all, Saints quarterbacks were pressured on 44 percent of dropbacks against the Steelers. On the positive side, starting center Max Unger had his best outing thus far in the preseason.

Top defensive grades:
CB Delvin Breaux, 85.6
DE Obum Gwacham, 83.2
LB Dannell Ellerbe, 82.8
CB Ken Crawley, 79.7
DE Matt Shaughnessy, 78.8

CB Delvin Breaux continues to perform well

Friday night was another solid outing from CB Delvin Breaux, who allowed one four-yard pass to be completed out of the backfield on 21 snaps in coverage. Through two preseason games, he has now been targeted four times, allowed two catches for a total of 12 yards, and had a pass defensed on 31 snaps in coverage. Fellow corner P.J. Williams didn’t fare as well, allowing four catches on four targets for 65 yards. Defensive end Obum Gwacham had a hit that was nullified by a penalty, a batted pass, and forced two holding penalties during run defense.

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Ike Evans

    I think the steelers may have something in hargraves….sucks heyward got hurt

    • shaunhan murray

      Heyward should be back for week 1, i was very pleased with the Hargrave pick, the steelers arnt one of the few classic 3-4 teams, but it seems like they wanna do more one gap stuff and Jaron excells at it.