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Antonio Brown, Bruce Gradkowski top Steelers initial grades in loss to Eagles

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The defense was particularly ripped by play evaluation web site Pro Football Focus after Thursday night's game.

Al Bello

Antonio Brown's performance in Pittsburgh's 31-21 loss to Philadelphia was more of an afterthought, considering how rough of a game it was. But if nothing else, Brown, as well as back-up quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, took the top marks for the Steelers as evaluated by Pro Football Focus.

Before we dig too far into this, we'd like to point out, by PFF's own admittance, these numbers are more knee-jerk reactions, and they are likely to change upon a second viewing. They run initial numbers (without stating them as such) and they revise them (without announcement) at later points. The numbers we're discussing here are their initial reports, and we tend to add our own opinion on whether we feel they are in roughly the same range as we would have thought they'd be.

Brown made a few really nice cuts, and for the second week in a row, made a great inside move to gain more yards after the catch.

Center Maurkice Pouncey had a 2.2.

Defensively, it was far worse.

Cornerback Antwon Blake and safety Troy Polamalu had the only grades above 1.0 in the game (both had 1.2 and 1.1, respectively), and 13 players - including eight starters and the nickel back - had grades of -1.0 or worse. Cornerback Cortez Allen landed at the bottom, scoring a -4.2, barely falling under Cameron Heyward's -4.1. Jarvis Jones scored a -3.0, rounding out a farily accurate depiction of the Steelers' defensive performance Thursday.

Ryan Shazier's -2.9 appeared a bit higher than I thought it would be, but PFF had him targeted seven times, allowing six completions and 70 yards..