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Centers bookend the Steelers offensive Pro Football Focus grades in Week 16

In the grades provided by PFF, the two players who snapped the ball on offense ended up with the best and worst grades.

NFL: DEC 26 Steelers at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a big setback in their 2021 postseason aspirations on Sunday in Kansas City. It wasn’t that the Steelers lost the game, but it’s how they lost and showed they are not on the same level as the AFC’s top seeded team. The defense did not keep the Chiefs from scoring the entire first half with the exception of a missed field goal. The offense was once again shut out in the first half, although they missed a field goal as well. It was the contributions on both sides of the ball which led to the old-fashioned beat down.

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 16 performance. These scores are just from Sunday’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. First 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 only 72 snaps on offense in Week 16.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

C J.C. Hassenauer: 88.9 (27 snaps)
RB Benny Snell Jr.: 76.0 (16 snaps)
QB Mason Rudolph: 75.2 (10 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 73.3 (49 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 71.6 (56 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 58.6 (62 snaps)
TE Kevin Rader: 54.2 (17 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 52.7 (45 snaps)
WR James Washington: 52.1 (22 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 41.4 (45 snaps)


Quarterback

QB Mason Rudolph: 75.2 (10 snaps)
QB Ben Roethlisberger: 58.6 (62 snaps)

Since it applies to most position groups, it should be pointed out that there is a difference in scores between players who came in to finish out the game and those who played throughout the first three quarters. It’s not like Mason Rudolph played head and shoulders above Ben Roethlisberger, other than his 17 yard scramble, but he was facing a much different defensive philosophy than what Kansas City was doing early in the game.

Running Backs

RB Benny Snell Jr.: 76.0 (16 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 71.6 (56 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 60.1 (3 snaps)

Despite not having much room to run in the first half, Najee Harris did bust out a 21-yard run and continued into the second half which bounced his grade to be just outside the top five for the game. Benny Snell scored higher in his limited time as the Chiefs were content to let the Steelers run the ball late in the game. Regardless, Snell did what he was asked to do when called upon.

Receivers

TE Zach Gentry: 73.3 (49 snaps)
WR Cody White: 62.4 (28 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 60.2 (59 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 58.8 (65 snaps)
TE Kevin Rader: 54.2 (17 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 52.7 (45 snaps)
WR James Washington: 52.1 (22 snaps)

The overall scores of the receivers were way down in this game. Many people are wondering why Cody White ended up with more snaps than James Washington, but seeing where the two landed relative to each other on this list might be the answer to the question. In his first game as the number one tight end, Zach Gentry appeared to hold his own and was the only receiver in the top five.

Offensive Line

C J.C. Hassenauer: 88.9 (27 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 69.7 (72 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 67.8 (44 snaps)
G John Leglue: 66.9 (72 snaps)
G Joe Haeg: 63.8 (28 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 62.4 (72 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 41.4 (45 snaps)

Kendrick Green really struggled for the Steelers offensive line again this week. With a 50.9 run blocking score, 34.8 pass blocking score had him in the bottom for the offense by far. At the other end of the list was his replacement, J.C. Hasenauer, who had an average pass blocking grade of 60.5 but had a 92.2 run blocking grade in relief of Green. For a unit that appeared to struggle throughout the day, all of the line except Green was in the top half of team scores. Perhaps Kansas City just exploded the weakest link.


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.