For the Pittsburgh Steelers trio of second year defenders, 2017 wasn’t always a breeze. Artie Burns saw some serious ups-and-downs throughout the year, Javon Hargrave has had his playing time decreased with the absence of Ryan Shazier, and Sean Davis has been downright awful at times.
In Week 17 of the regular season, when the Browns came to Heinz Field to cap off their 0-16 season, it was Davis who had a huge bounce back game. Now, before fans start to bemoan his performance to it being against the Browns, sometimes players just need to gain confidence in any possible way. Cleveland is good for this such task.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) highlighted several players for their quality performances in Week 17, and Davis was among the best. A great sign as the Steelers now turn their attention away from the complete regular season, and focus on the upcoming Divisional Round game at Heinz Field in just over a week.
Check out PFF’s Highest Graded Players:
TOP 5 GRADES:
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, 86.3 overall grade
S Sean Davis, 84.7 overall grade
T Marcus Gilbert, 83.8 overall grade
CB Mike Hilton, 82.9 overall grade
DI Stephon Tuitt, 81.3 overall grade
They expanded on several other performances, and while some fans don’t like how PFF puts together their grades and analysis, the amount of production and insight is undeniable.
Check out more Steelers’ game observations from Week 17:
PERFORMANCES OF NOTE:
WR JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, 86.3 OVERALL GRADE
Schuster hauled in all nine catchable passes thrown his way to finish with 143 yards and a touchdown to compile a passer rating of 112.5 when targeted. Smith had one deep catch on a ‘go’ route for 46 yards against and finished with an impressive yards per route run mark of 4.77 for the day.
T MARCUS GILBERT, 83.8 OVERALL GRADE
Gilbert was perfect in pass protection yielding no pressures on 30 pass-blocking snaps. Playing with reserves and dealing with an in-game injury to center B.J. Finney the Steleers offensive line had to mix and shuffle around players Gilbert stood out, grading positive for the game in both pass protection and run-blocking.
DI STEPHON TUITT, 81.3 OVERALL GRADE
While Tuitt showed up on the stat sheet with just three tackles, he had a lot bigger impact on the Steelers run defense than what the box score may suggest. The former Notre Dame defensive lineman led Pittsburgh’s run defense in the absence of Cameron Heyward as he wreaked havoc and beat his blockers to force the ball carrier to change direction on numerous occasions. In addition, Tuitt picked up a quarterback hurry as well.
S SEAN DAVIS, 84.7 OVERALL GRADE
Davis had a bounce-back performance after a couple lackluster outings in recent weeks. He was all over the field and had an influence on the outcome in multiple facets of the game. Most noticeably, Pittsburgh’s safety picked up three total pressures – including a sack – on just 10 pass-rushing snaps. Furthermore, Davis allowed just one reception on the day while he also had an acrobatic interception in the fourth quarter.