In a game in which the final score was 43-18, you can imagine the grades for the winning team would be outstanding. This certainly was the case for the Pittsburgh Steelers after their Week-2 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field. But not all of the grades reflect the dominating nature of the game. The experts at Pro Football Focus have broken down the film and given each player an individual score based on his performance, by position.
On the offensive side of the football, no player scored higher than quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger's +7.5 was the highest on the entire team, but Antonio Brown's +5.4 grade wasn't far behind. The Roethlisberger-to-Brown connection has become even more unstoppable in 2015 than it was in 2014, and the grades certainly reflect this.
Other members of the offense who received grades over +1.0 were: Heath Miller (+2.1) and Kelvin Beachum (+1.9). The only offensive player to receive a negative grade was DeAngelo Williams with a -1.1. Some might scoff at Williams' score, considering that he notched three touchdowns, but PFF graded him negatively both in rushing and receiving in Week 2.
On the defensive side of the ball, there was a little bit of everything in terms of grades. The highest graded player on the defense was Stephon Tuitt with a +2.5 grade, followed by Cameron Heyward with a +1.7. Fans might be curious to know that Ryan Shazier, who played a tremendous game, ranked at only +1.1 among the players with positive grades. He graded +3.6 in run defense but -2.8 in pass coverage. Add four missed tackles and it tones down Shazier's overall grade in the game.
Other than Shazier, the following players were given grades better than +1.0: Mike Mitchell (+1.6) and James Harrison (+1.2). Negative grades were more prevalent on the defense than the offensive side of the ball. Lawrence Timmons' -3.8 grade was the worst on the defense. This is Timmons' second consecutive game in which he received a negative grade, certainly out of the norm for No. 94. Joining Timmons in the 'red' were: Antwon Blake (-1.3) and Steve McLendon (-2.0).
While these grades were much improved from the Steelers' Week-1 loss to the New England Patriots, most would agree that there's still work to be done. The Steelers hope to take the next step in their progression in Week 3 by posting their first road win against the St. Louis Rams.