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Pro Football Focus gives Steelers defensive interior some love after the win over the Lions

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The Pittsburgh Steelers interior defensive line got some love from PFF after their Week 8 win over the Lions.

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

When fans think of the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 8 win over the Detroit Lions, they will probably think of a few things.

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster’s big game
  • Key goal line stops by the defense

However, what fans should remember is a dominant performance by the Steelers interior defensive line, especially in the red-zone. This wasn’t the first time the team’s defensive front deserves credit, but didn’t get it. Instead, the defensive front actually got some love from Pro Football Focus (PFF).

Check out the grades for the Steelers in Week 8:


WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, 87.5 overall grade

DI Javon Hargrave, 86.1 overall grade

S Robert Golden, 84.2 overall grade

G David DeCastro, 84.2 overall grade

DI Cameron Heyward, 80.5 overall grade

Heyward and Hargrave each got some special attention in PFF’s “Performances of Note” Section:


The Steelers only sacked Stafford twice and knocked him down two other times, but they did get a fair amount of pressure on him, led by Javon Hargrave. Hargrave overpowered center Travis Swanson for much of the game, leading to one hit and three hurries, including the hit on Detroit’s final play of the game that led to a turnover on downs.


Heyward was also a productive pass-rusher, tallying one sack and four hurries on the night, with four of those pressures coming against Lions LT Brian Mihalik. Heyward didn’t make as much of an impact in run defense, but did have one run defense stop.

While the interior defensive line got plenty of publicity from PFF, there were other Steelers who also earned credit for their performances at Ford Field Sunday night.


JuJu Smith-Schuster has been in the news all week for various reasons, and today he made sure people will be talking about his play. He used his speed to stay ahead of the Lions pursuit defenders on the 97-yard touchdown catch that made the difference in the game. Outside of one dropped pass, JuJu was a match up nightmare as he caught passes against 5 different defenders.


Roethlisberger had an interesting game, as he regularly attempted all-or-nothing passes. Roethlisberger completed 13 of his 15 attempted passes under 10 yards, and only 3 attempted passes in the 10-19 yard range. However, he attempted 12 passes over 20 yards, and he connected on just enough to keep the Steelers in the lead. The highlight play will be the Smith-Schuster touchdown play, and while everyone will talk about the long run, the play required a great throw to beat the defender and keep Smith-Schuster from slowing down

Some can’t stand PFF for their grading system, but the analytics are certainly there in regards to the massive amount of analytics they put into their everyday activities when it comes to analyzing NFL, and college, players.

Stay tuned to BTSC for more information regarding the black-and-gold, even during the bye week.