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Ben Roethlisberger makes a huge jump in his Pro Football Focus grade for Week 2

In the grades provided by PFF, the Steeler’s offense had similar scores to Week 1 but the players at the top were different.

Las Vegas Raiders v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled to get things going consistently yet again on offense in Week 2 as the defense attempted to overcome the loss of several key players due to injury. If anything, Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season is a reminder to Steelers fans not to take anything for granted and how delicate the difference in play between wins and losses can be. The Steelers must now go back to the drawing board in order to avoid a losing streak early in the season.

So 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 2 performance. 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 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 56 snaps on offense in Week 2.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

WR Diontae Johnson: 72.3 (49 snaps)
QB Ben Roethlisberger: 72.2 (56 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 71.4 (33 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 71.3 (56 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 65.0 (43 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

RB Benny Snell Jr.: 51.3 (3 snap)
G Trai Turner: 47.7 (45 snaps)
WR James Washington: 40.7 (12 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 40.6 (8 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 38.1 (24 snaps)


Quarterback

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 72.2 (56 snaps)

This is going to both baffle and frustrate some Steelers fans. With PFF grades not determined by if the team won or lost, the scores for Roethlisberger in the first two weeks don’t necessarily match the narratives associated with the games. Following Week 1, many Steelers’ fans felt Roethlisberger’s 38.0 score, which was the lowest of any QB in the NFL that week, was disrespectful as he did not have the worst performance especially in an upset victory. But with the Steelers offense not producing to a higher level than they did the previous week, many fans were down on Roethlisberger‘s ability to lead the offense. Regardless of the narrative, Roethlisberger’s score reflects a player who was much more accurate with his passes than he was the previous week.

Running Backs

RB Najee Harris: 63.5 (53 snaps)
RB Benny Snell Jr.: 51.3 (3 snap)

Before getting into the Steelers running backs, I have to admit the frustration of having to remove a name from this list from the previous week. Even if it wasn’t for many plays, the Steelers did not deploy a fullback on offense for even one snap in Week 2. As for the grades of the running backs, Najee Harris graded higher in the passing game (65.0) than the running game (59.8). Ultimately, the most encouraging grade from Harris came from his pass blocking (84.8) as he did a nice job on the six snaps where he was used to help defend Ben Roethlisberger.

Receivers

WR Diontae Johnson: 72.3 (49 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 71.4 (33 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 65.0 (43 snaps)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: 61.0 (54 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 60.0 (1 snap)
WR James Washington: 40.7 (12 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 40.6 (8 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 38.1 (24 snaps)

Once again, three of the top five overall positions came from a receiver with Pat Freiermuth and Chase Claypool appearing in both Week 1 and Week 2. Seeing Diontae Johnson topping the list was encouraging, despite still having several plays where he either stopped early or was not on the same page as Ben Roethlisberger. Seeing Eric Ebron‘s score plummet while Pat Freiermuth basically stayed the same may be something to consider as to how the Steelers will deploy their tight ends in the coming weeks.

Offensive Line

OT Chuks Okorafor: 71.3 (56 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 63.5 (56 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 62.7 (56 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 60.8 (56 snaps)
G B.J. Finney: 58.5 (11 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 47.7 (45 snaps)

This is another category where the fans’ narratives may not match the scores given. With the majority of Steelers’ Nation down on right tackle Chuks Okorafor, he led the offensive linemen with not only the top overall score, but the Steelers best run blocking grade of 79.5 in Week 2. Although not receiving outstanding grades, three of the Steelers five starting offensive linemen— Dotson, Green, and Okorafor— did have improved grades from the previous week.


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.