The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in their first preseason action vs. the Dallas Cowboys. The 16-3 final score certainly would make fans who didn’t get to watch the game feel good about their favorite team, but that doesn’t mean that is exactly how it went down. In fact, the 3-0 Dallas lead at halftime would suggest the Steelers struggled offensively.
But how did these players grade out?
To get a better grasp on the individual performances by the Steelers, we turn to Pro Football Focus (PFF) to see their individual grades. Before going any further, we are all aware many fans cannot stand PFF’s grading system. Mainly due to their lack of explanation on how they come up with the grades they give.
Nonetheless, even if you don’t like PFF it does give a baseline to allow fans to see who played well, and who might have been “below the line”, as Mike Tomlin would put it.
Below are the grades for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense from the Hall of Fame game vs. the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night.
No quarterback pushed the ball downfield with regularity for Pittsburgh, but the offense kept things particularly close to the vest with Dwayne Haskins. The former first-round pick recorded an average depth of target of just 4.0 yards downfield.
Mason Rudolph was effective from a clean pocket. He completed five of his seven attempts for 81 yards without pressure. It would have been six completions if not for a drop.
First-round rookie running back Najee Harris had perhaps the most highly anticipated debut of any player in the Hall of Fame game. Harris saw a decent workload with eight touches in his limited action, but they netted just 25 yards. 18 of Harris’ 22 rushing yards came after contact.
Drops were an issue for Pittsburgh in 2020, and the team recorded a few more in the 2021 preseason opener. James Washington, Marcus Baugh and Chase Claypool were each charged with drops. Still, Claypool had a strong night overall, headlined by a pair of receptions on out routes and an impressive downfield reception that ended his night.
Rookie center Kendrick Green was the only expected starter to receive playing time in this game, and he wasn’t beat on nine pass-blocking snaps. Fellow rookie Dan Moore Jr. and veteran free agent acquisition Joe Haeg were the standouts up front. Haeg’s 91.5 run-blocking grade led all offensive linemen in the game.
So, what do you think of the above grades? Were they spot on, or did they swing and miss? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ offensive grades in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC as the team prepares for the 2021 regular season.