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Pro Football Focus highlights some secondary players who will need to step up in Week 16

The Pittsburgh Steelers will need to have some secondary weapons step up in Week 16, and PFF showed some quality grades for some of these athletes.

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NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a devastating loss in Week 15, and sometimes you can look into the near future by learning from the past. In this case, the people at Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded Pittsburgh after their loss to the Patriots, and some clear lines were able to be drawn to the upcoming game against the Houston Texans in Week 16.

With Antonio Brown already ruled out of the game, others will have to step up, mainly JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant. The good news in this scenario is both of these players received great grades from PFF after Week 15. This bodes well for the offense not missing a beat in Week 16, and possibly Week 17.

Some may not agree with the way PFF grades players, but the amount of time and analytics which go into are undeniable.

Check out the grades from last week’s game:


G David DeCastro, 87.5 overall grade

QB Ben Roethlisberger, 84.2 overall grade

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, 84.0 overall grade

LB Vince Williams, 83.2 overall grade

WR Martavis Bryant, 82.7 overall grade


When it comes to other players of note, you can see some of the athletes who stood out, and one who stood out for all the wrong reasons. Sean Davis’ grade of 21.4 is one of the lowest grades I have ever seen from PFF, and something which will need to improve if the Steelers want to seriously push towards the playoffs, and beyond.



It was a clean game for Roethlisberger before a forced throw on the last play of the game resulted in the game-ending interception. He worked the short game well, completing 18-of-22 for 214 yards on passes thrown 0-9 yards in the air as he continually moved the chains and carried out Pittsburgh’s ball-control plan. However, this game will be remembered for the forced pass at the end when the Steelers were in range to tie the game with a field goal.


DeCastro was dominant up front in the run game, creating movement at the point of attack and when asked to block on the move, as a puller. He won a number of battles with New England’s best run-stopping defensive tackle, Malcom Brown, and he did a fine job of finding second-level linebackers in the run game as well. In pass protection, DeCastro allowed only one pressure on 35 attempts.


It feels a little harsh highlighting this because covering Rob Gronkowski one-on-one may be the toughest assignment in football, but Sean Davis was victimized all game long. He allowed 158 yards into his coverage, and a two-point conversion, and to compound matters, when the Steelers tipped a ball at the line, he dropped an interception that would have ended the game.


Hauling in a one-handed interception on an underthrown Tom Brady pass as the New England quarterback was hit as he threw was one of the biggest plays of the game, but Williams was also in close coverage to force an overthrow to Dion Lewis, and made a couple of solid plays in the run game.