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Overall Pro Football Focus grades for the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers

Breaking down the PFF scores for the Steelers as a team in 2022.

NFL: DEC 24 Raiders at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Throughout the season, I continue to report on the scores given by Pro Football Focus (PFF) on a weekly basis. Whether it be scores for each game or the final season scores, it is a feature that has been here at Behind The Steel Curtain for some time.

But not only are there individual scores, there are team scores as well.

Now that the 2022 regular season has concluded, this week we will be looking at the various team scores of the Pittsburgh Steelers according to PFF. Before diving into specific scores on both offense and defense, this time we will be looking at the overall scores as well as which individual game scored the highest and the lowest in each category. The scores will be based on only the regular season when it comes to ranking them against other NFL teams.

It’s at this time where I give my typical PFF disclaimer. While I am going to do it, it’s not going to be quite the same as before. I want to remind everyone that the numbers you are looking at given by Pro Football Focus is merely an opinion. It is the opinion of whoever is scoring the game as to how an individual player did on every snap. It is a well-informed opinion because they look at every snap by every player on every play. So it’s not for a lack of thoroughness on their part. But ultimately it is an opinion. It is no different than your opinion or my opinion. Sometimes their opinion may line up with ours, while other times it will not. So looking at these scores as 100% accurate can be dangerous. On the other end of the spectrum, looking at them with 0% validity would be unwise as well.

With that being said, let’s get into the overall scores as well as grades for the Steelers offense, defense, and special teams.

Overall Score: 79.7

NFL Rank: T-18th (Las Vegas Raiders)

Top 3 games:

Week 17 at Baltimore Ravens: 82.3
Week 10 vs. New Orleans Saints: 78.3
Week 15 at Carolina Panthers: 77.7

Bottom 3 games:

Week 7 at Miami Dolphins: 58.7
Week 5 at Buffalo Bills: 57.1
Week 8 at Philadelphia Eagles: 54.3

As would be expected, three of the Steelers wins landed in the top of their overall scores all three of their worst losses were in the bottom. Although the Steelers had every opportunity to win the game against the Dolphins, they simply couldn’t pull it together offensively to get the job done. The other two games in the bottom were blowout losses which really affected their overall ranking. I was a bit surprised to see the Steelers matchup against the Ravens in Week 17 is the top score overall, especially since their offense struggled until late in the game. But there will be more on that in the next section.

Offensive Score: 74.5

NFL Rank: 16th

Top 3 games:

Week 17 at Baltimore Ravens: 84.5
Week 3 vs. Cleveland Browns: 75.8
Week 15 at Carolina Panthers: 75.5

Bottom 3 games:

Week 11 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 61.4
Week 7 at Miami Dolphins: 60.9
Week 8 at Philadelphia Eagles: 56.9

The Steelers offense finished 16th in the NFL which may surprise some. But according to the PFF scores, the Steelers only had one offensive grade below the 60.0 standard. So the biggest reason the Steelers ended up right in the middle of the NFL was because PFF deemed their games to not be extremely poor while not setting the world on fire either. It’s still interesting that the Steelers top offensive grade came against the Ravens in Week 17 when they only scored 16 points but did put up 351 yards of offense. This was also the game Kenny Pickett had the highest score by a Steelers quarterback since 2018. But the Steelers often struggled for most of the game as they didn’t even hit double digits points until the final minute. Interesting enough, another game in which the Steelers had exactly 351 yards of offense but scored 30 points, Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals, landed in the bottom three scores. While these may not make sense now, perhaps there will be more clarity whenever the individual offensive scores are reported tomorrow.

Defensive Score: 71.2

NFL Rank: 18th

Top 3 games:

Week 10 vs. New Orleans Saints: 84.9
Week 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 77.5
Week 15 at Carolina Panthers: 77.2

Bottom 3 games:

Week 13 at Atlanta Falcons: 49.3
Week 3 vs. Cleveland Browns: 48.7
Week 8 at Philadelphia Eagles: 47.2

While it is curious that the Steelers defense had a lower PFF score and a lower NFL ranking than the offense, it appears that it comes down to more of a discrepancy within their games. The Steelers had three games below a 50.0, even though one of them was a victory. None of these games stood out significantly from an overall yardage standpoint, but were games where the Steelers surrendered more than 100 yards rushing. But the top three games in which the Steelers gave up the most yards were not in their bottom three as they were against Buffalo and both games against Cincinnati. Surprisinglyenough, one game against Cincinnati landed in the top three mainly because of the Steelers five takeaways. As for the other two top defensive performances, it makes sense as they were twice when the Steelers allowed less than 30 yards rushing in the game which only happened in seven total games across the NFL this season.

Special Teams Score: 59.1

NFL Rank: 31st

Top 3 games:

Week 1 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 81.5
Week 6 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 79.0
Week 8 at Philadelphia Eagles: 71.5

Bottom 3 games:

Week 12 at Indianapolis Colts: 47.2
Week 14 at Baltimore Ravens: 44.3
Week 15 at Carolina Panthers: 32.2

Trying to figure out why the Steelers landed with such a low special team score of the season took a little bit of digging. The worst score for the season was against the Carolina Panthers but nothing stood out significantly in that game other than a couple penalties, but the Marcus Allen debacle happened during a dead ball so it was not one of them. There was a 37-yard kick off return, but the Steelers didn’t miss any field goals or extra points and there were no punt returns except for one being a touchback. Week 14 against the Ravens makes sense due to the Steelers giving up a blocked field goal, and the game against the Colts had a near touchdown return of a kickoff. As for the top scores, the blocked extra point in Week 1 seems to put that game above the rest with the game against the Buccaneers having a near kickoff return by the Steelers.

So how did these scores look for the overall team in 2022? Do they pass the eye tests? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below and be on the lookout in the coming days for more specific team breakdowns in terms of offense and defense.