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Diontae Johnson leads the Steelers offensive Pro Football Focus grades

In the grades provided by PFF, Johnson had the highest receiving score of any wide receiver in Week 15.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers got back in the win column with their third-straight victory on the road by defeating the Carolina Panthers. The offense took care of the football and sustained long drives which they finished off with touchdowns. As for the defense, they were dominant against the run as they now are responsible for two of the six games in 2022 where a team was held to less than 30 yards on the ground.

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 the Steelers Week 15 performance. Remember, these are just the grades for the Steelers for this past game and not combined with their previous performances. 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 the players who played at least one snap (except for Minkah Fitzpatrick who played on the kneel down) and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 68 snaps on offense in Sunday’s game.


Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

WR Diontae Johnson: 87.2 (50 snaps)
QB Mitch Trubisky: 82.5 (68 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 77.4 (45 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 75.4 (68 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 72.4 (19 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

G James Daniels: 53.5 (68 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 51.1 (38 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 50.7 (4 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 48.5 (68 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 46.3 (42 snaps)


Quarterback

QB Mitch Trubisky: 82.5 (68 snaps)

After throwing three interceptions last week, Mitchell Trubisky played a clean game and finished with his highest PFF score since Week 13 of the 2019 season. Scoring fairly evenly between his pass score of 76.7 and run score of 75.8, Trubisky did not throw any touchdowns but did have one rushing. Most importantly, he commanded an efficient offense throughout the day.

Running Backs

RB Najee Harris: 77.4 (45 snaps)
RB Jaylen Warren: 68.6 (23 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 56.5 (9 snaps)

Najee Harris had another strong score as it was his second-highest overall grade of the season only behind his 86.6 in the Week 13 against Atlanta. Additionally, Jaylen Warren finished just outside of the top five this week and had a much higher passing score (72.1) than Harris (54.0). PFF was at it again as it often depends on who is grading the game with Warren who had a 30.8 pass blocking grade. But for this week, I didn’t see him laying anybody out in past protection like I have earlier in the season. He was credited with giving up the Steelers loan sack on the day.

Receivers

WR Diontae Johnson: 87.2 (50 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 72.4 (19 snaps)
WR Steven Sims: 67.2 (29 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 66.7 (45 snaps)
WR Miles Boykin: 65.4 (25 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 51.1 (38 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 50.7 (4 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 46.3 (42 snaps)

It’s strange to see all the tight ends at the very bottom of this list, but it might just go to show the game plan for this game. Pat Freiermuth only practiced one day this week and it was in a limited capacity, so the Steelers may have intentionally been minimizing his production as he only played 38 snaps. Diontae Johnson had the highest passing score of any wide receiver in Week 15 with a 90.2. I’m not exactly sure why Gunner Olszewski was as high as he was, but on the 5 passing plays he was in he scored a 71.7 and had a run blocking score of 59.5 on his 14 other steps. How that equates to a 72.4 is beyond me.

Offensive Line

OT Chuks Okorafor: 75.4 (68 snaps)
OT Trent Scott: 59.6 (10 snaps)
C Mason Cole: 58.1 (68 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 55.8 (68 snaps)
G James Daniels: 53.5 (68 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 48.5 (68 snaps)

This week I was quite surprised by the scores and have to say they don’t pass my eye test. Chucks Okorafor’s 75.4 was the only overall score that landed above the 60.0 standard. Okorafor had a balanced score of 73.3 in pass blocking and 73.7 and run blocking, which was the team high. All the rest of the lineman had scores below the 60.0 in run blocking. It looked like Dan Moore was clearing pathways in the first half, yet he still only had a 51.2 run blocking grade. James Daniels and Kevin Dotson both had identical 85.9 pass blocking scores but their overall scores were well below the line due to Dotson having a 49.0 run blocking score and Daniels having a 48.1. Yet Dodson comes in five points below Daniels with the only difference being having a penalty attributed to him. And when it comes to pass protection, the only offensive lineman credited with giving up a pressure was Mason Cole who PFF had surrendering one hit and one hurry. I just don’t see how almost all the scores were down from last week when watching both games.


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.