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The Steelers offensive line tops their Pro Football Focus grades in Week 6

In the grades provided by PFF, three of the top five offensive spots belong to linemen.

NFL: OCT 10 Broncos at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers started their first winning streak of the 2021 season in Week 6 and carry some momentum into their bye week. The offense had another solid week, and the defense dominated early and came up with splash plays late to finish things off in overtime.

But how did the individual players grade out?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for their Week 6 performance. These score are just from Sunday night’s game and not for the entire season. Before going any further, I must give the typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective. While some people rely on them heavily, others are quite skeptical of the process in which they are determined. It is completely up to each person as to how much stock they put into PFF’s grades. For me, I often look at the grades to see if my own “eye test” lines up with what others viewed as how a player performed. If nothing more, the grades create a discussion about how accurate, or inaccurate, they are each week.

Instead of looking at the entire team at once, we break up the scores into offense and defense. Next up this week is the offense. Included will be all the players who played at least one snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 75 snaps on offense in Week 6.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

TE Pat Freiermuth: 74.1 (45 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 70.0 (75 snaps)
WR James Washington: 69.9 (8 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 69.1 (75 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 68.7 (75 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

TE Eric Ebron: 56.3 (34 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 55.0 (52 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 53.9 (75 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 53.6 (23 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 47.6 (63 snaps)


Quarterback

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 60.4 (75 snaps)

Keeping in mind that PFF has their standard score beginning at 60.0, Roethlisberger was scored as basically having an average performance. Not standing out as good or bad, which is what the score basically equates, is itself not necessarily good or bad. And if the Steelers can get a victory with Roethlisberger not have to carrying the team on his back, that is definitely not a bad thing.

Running Backs

RB Najee Harris: 67.0 (63 snaps)
RB Kalen Ballage: 65.9 (12 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 59.2 (6 snaps)

One of the biggest notes from this list is the absence of Benny Snell. Whether or not it had to do with his early injury on special teams is speculation, but it was Kalen Ballage getting the additional carries and scoring almost as well as Najee Harris. Keeping in mind the same standard that was set when talking about Ben Roethlisberger, it appears both running backs performed above the line but nothing that jumps off the page when analyzing their scores.

Receivers

TE Pat Freiermuth: 74.1 (45 snaps)
WR James Washington: 69.9 (8 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 63.4 (69 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 56.3 (34 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 55.0 (52 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 53.6 (23 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 47.6 (63 snaps)

These numbers of both grades and snaps probably tell a pretty good story about the Steelers game against the Seahawks. Pat Freiermuth continues to have the Steelers top offensive grade on the entire season, and Chase Claypool really struggled in this game. Additionally, James Washington hardly saw the field but made a positive contribution in his one target.

Offensive Line

G Kevin Dotson: 70.0 (75 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 69.1 (75 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 68.7 (75 snaps)
OT Joe Haeg: 64.9 (16 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 56.8 (59 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 53.9 (75 snaps)

Since the offensive line is generally only as good as its weakest link, it should be noted the score of the bottom player, in this case Chuks Okorafor, is the highest score of the bottom player so far this season. What is also interesting is it seems that rookies Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green keep flip-flopping who has a better game and who struggles. In this case, it was Green who put forth the better numbers in Week 6, landing int he top five offensive scores for the team.

To further complicate the validity of PFF scoring, I want to point out an interesting irregularly from Week 6. What makes up an offensive lineman’s overall score is a pass blocking grade and a run blocking grade. Trai Turner had a better individual grade in both categories (84.5 for pass, 67.4 for run) than Kevin Dotson (76.5 for pass, 64.6 for run) but yet Dotson was given the better overall grade (70.0 to 69.1). The only other factor was Turner was attributed one penalty (a false start where he was not the only player) in the game. If one play, such as a penalty, can effect a score so much, why wasn’t a big positive play, such as T.J. Watt getting the strip sack to set up the game-winning field goal, more influential in his grade? Just something to think about.


So, what do you think of the above grades? Do they pass the eye test? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.