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T.J. Watt tops the Steelers defensive Week 13 Pro Football Focus grades

In the grades provided by PFF, Watt was the only player with a score above a 70.0 for the Steelers’ defense

NFL: DEC 05 Ravens at Steelers Photo by Michael Longo/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers bounced back from the poor performance in Week 12 to have a big divisional win in Week 13. While the offense couldn’t put much on the board early, the defense did enough to keep the Steelers within one score the entire game. Hanging around through three quarters, the offense really got rolling the the final period to come back and take the lead while the defense got the big stop they needed on one play to determine the winner.

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 13 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. Next up is the defense. 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 74 snaps on defense in Week 13.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

OLB T.J. Watt: 83.5 (64 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 68.5 (12 snaps)
CB Arthur Maulet: 66.6 (26 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 66.1 (60 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 65.2 (55 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

DT Henry Mondeaux: 45.0 (24 snaps)
S Minkah Fitzpatrick: 44.2 (74 snap)
ILB Devin Bush: 44.0 (65 snaps)
ILB Joe Schobert: 29.6 (74 snaps)
S Tre Norwood: 27.9 (13 snaps)


Defensive Front Seven

OLB T.J. Watt: 83.5 (64 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 68.5 (12 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 66.1 (60 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 65.2 (55 snaps)
DT Cam Heyward: 64.8 (58 snaps)
OLB Derrek Tuszka: 64.1 (15 snaps)
DT Montravious Adams: 60.6 (34 snaps)
OLB Taco Charlton: 55.4 (22 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 45.0 (24 snaps)

For this game, the scores came as T.J. Watt and everybody else. Although a number of players came in above the 60.0 average, PFF did not feel that any other player besides Watt had that excellent of a performance. After all, he was scored 15 points higher than the next closest player. Even Chris Wormley’s 2.5 sacks only landed him slightly above average.

Inside Linebackers

ILB Devin Bush: 44.0 (65 snaps)
ILB Joe Schobert: 29.6 (74 snaps)

When it comes to Devin Bush‘s score, it lines up exactly what my eye test was from Week 13. I felt that Bush did better than the couple previous weeks, but still not anything that great. As for Schobert, it was his 28.6 coverage score which really brought him down. What I found interesting is the fact, even though Robert Spillane was out, no other inside linebacker got any snaps in this game or any other game for the Steelers in 2021.

Defensive Backs

CB Arthur Maulet: 66.6 (26 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 63.6 (65 snaps)
CB Justin Layne: 63.4 (9 snaps)
S Miles Killebrew: 61.6 (2 snaps)
CB Cam Sutton: 58.5 (74 snaps)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon: 56.6 (68 snaps)
S Minkah Fitzpatrick: 44.2 (74 snap)
S Tre Norwood: 27.9 (13 snaps)

Coming in with the first two spots of the position group last week, Fitzpatrick and Norwood dropped down to the bottom again. There was nothing here to write home about with any of the scores, and that might be a good summation of the Steelers secondary this week. It’s not that they did anything to totally tear up, but they did enough to get the job done for the Steelers to get the win.


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.