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Pat Freiermuth tops the Steelers offensive Pro Football Focus grades in Week 18

In the grades provided by PFF, Freiermuth’s score towered over the rest of the offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have qualified for the 2021 NFL postseason. To do their part, the Steelers defeated the Ravens in Baltimore in overtime to finish off the season. In the cold, wind, and rain, the Steelers defense held the Ravens to 13 points while the offense came up with a late touchdown and key conversions in overtime to win the game.

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 18 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 76 snaps on offense in Week 18.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

TE Pat Freiermuth: 81.9 (50 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 67.3 (8 snaps)
OT Joe Haeg: 66.6 (76 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 65.6 (69 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 65.4 (44 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

RB Benny Snell Jr.: 56.0 (29 snaps)
QB Ben Roethlisberger: 51.8 (76 snaps)
C J.C. Hassenauer: 48.9 (76 snaps)
RB Kalen Ballage: 47.4 (7 snaps)
G John Leglue: 41.0 (76 snaps)


Quarterback

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 51.8 (76 snaps)

Ben Roethlisberger scored exactly nine points higher than the previous week which seems about right. After a rough first half with only 66 yards passing and an interception, Roethlisbeger came on strong in the second half to lead the Steelers from behind in the fourth quarter and get the win in overtime. But after taking the first half into account as well, the score is probably expected based on their metrics.

Running Backs

FB Derek Watt: 67.3 (8 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 59.7 (40 snaps)
RB Benny Snell Jr.: 56.0 (29 snaps)
RB Kalen Ballage: 47.4 (7 snaps)

Once again, Derek Watt is scoring well in his limited contributions to the offense. Only getting a limited number of snaps due to injury, Najee Harris’ score took a dive as he only had a 48.4 rushing score but had a team-high 84.4 pass blocking score. Harris also had a 71.7 passing game score, likely from his nice one-handed grab in overtime. As for Benny Snell, his 37.6 pass blocking score is what brought him down for the game.

Receivers

TE Pat Freiermuth: 81.9 (50 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 65.6 (69 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 65.4 (44 snaps)
TE Kevin Rader: 60.1 (11 snaps)
WR Cody White: 58.5 (7 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 57.9 (65 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 56.0 (50 snaps)

Much like a number of games earlier in the season, Pat Freiermuth grabbed the top spot for the offense and this time it wasn’t even close. Freiermuth had the top passing grade of 81.2 for the day along with his blocking contributions. Chase Claypool bounced back and landed in the top five and had the top run blocking score for the team with an 80.0 which was more than 12 points higher than the next closest grade. Even with the players who were at the bottom of this position group, none of them landed in the bottom five for the offense.

Offensive Line

OT Joe Haeg: 66.6 (76 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 62.5 (76 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 59.6 (76 snaps)
C J.C. Hassenauer: 48.9 (76 snaps)
G John Leglue: 41.0 (76 snaps)

Based on the eye test before scores came out, it appeared that John Leglue had a much better game than Joe Haeg. This was the sentiment on much of the social media channels for the Steelers. After a discussion with Geoffrey Benedict, he revealed to me that he believes Haeg had the best score for the offensive linemen with Leglue at the bottom based on how they were doing zone (combo) blocks. In Geoffrey’s opinion, too many times Haeg went to the next level too early and left Leglue on an island where he shouldn’t have been and wasn’t when Dan Moore was playing. Therefore, based on what I believe must be PFF graders who don’t understand offensive line scheme, Leglue was credited with not winning his block when it was really Haeg know who hung him out to dry.

Back to the other players, J.C. Hassenauer’s score dropped by almost 30 points 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.