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My opinion of their opinion: Breaking down the Steelers PFF scores from Week 7

Several weeks ago I decided to switch up how I report the grades by Pro Football Focus (PFF) because of some of the recent absurdity of their findings. Since it seemed to be the most receptive approach, I decided to make this a weekly thing where I give my opinion of the PFF scores.

As always has to be the case when PFF is mentioned, the disclaimer is these grades are subjective and merely the opinion of those doing the evaluation. While PFF looks at every player on every snap, they are still simply forming an opinion of what they believe that player was supposed to be doing that play in order to determine if they were successful or not.

So here are my overall impressions of the scores from the Steelers Week 7 win over the Rams with my grade of PFF at the end.


The very top of the list on offense does not surprise me with George Pickens leading the way with an 80.6 overall score and Kenny Pickett with a 79.2, especially looking at his numbers in the second half of the game. Where things get interesting is the next two players on the list were both offensive linemen in Dan Moore (77.5) and Chuks Okorafor (77.2). Diontae Johnson rounded out the top five with a 77.1 in his return. While Johnson had a very strong 80.0 passing grade, he had a low 48.5 run blocking score.

Najee Harris had the top passing score on the offense of 89.5 ahead of Pickens (84.9). But Harris only had a 67.5 overall score as his running score was a 61.7 and his pass blocking score only a 30.2. With the exception of the pass blocking score, he was well ahead of Jaylen Warren who has the lowest offensive score for the Steelers overall at 49.3 as he had a 40.4 passing score, a 47.8 pass blocking score, and a 60.6 running score. I’m not so sure I agree with this assessment of Warren‘s play.

The offiensive line was quite interesting. I expected Isaac Seumalo to come out on top of the scores which he did in the run blocking category with a 77.7 grade ahead of Moore (75.0) and Okorafor (74.5). But Seumalo was given only a 15.6 pass blocking score although he was not credited for giving up a sack but one quarterback hit. The fact that the score dropped so low is very confusing. While I don’t believe he had something that should have been outstanding, it almost appears as if when the Rams sent to blitzers through the hole and Jaylen Warren had to pick up one, they may have faulted Seumalo about the other even though he was engaged with another player.  Other than that, I can’t explain why they would dock him at all in the passing game. But the player with the best pass blocking score was center Mason Cole with an 83.7 but it only equated and a 65.0 overall score as he had a 59.3 run blocking score.


What might surprise some Steelers fans is that it was a pair of Steelers rookies that topped the Steelers defensive PFF grades and it was not Joey Porter Jr. Intead it was a Nick Herbig with an 84.2 overall defensive score on his 12 snaps as well as Keeanu Benton with a 78.6 score in his 19 snaps that lead the way. Benton had the highest pass rushing score on the team of 90.4, way out in front of everybody else as Nick Herbig was second with a 75.0.

Speaking of Joey Porter, he had a good defensive score of a 67.7 overall and had the second highest coverage score on the team with a 70.6 only behind T.J. Watt’s 92.2. What brought Porter down was a 54.1 run defense score and a 27.4 tackling grade. What should be noted is that porter saw 53 out of 68 snaps in this game which was four more than Levi Wallace.

Mentioning his coverage score, T.J. Watt was scored low when it came to pass rush with a 51.5 as he only generated two hurries according to PFF. But still, Watt’s 76.9 overall score landed him third on the defense. Rounding out the top five were Armon Watts (72.1) and Alex Highsmith (70.1).

Looking at the bottom scores, the Steelers had five players score below a 50.0. Those players included Larry Ogunjobi (49.3), Patrick Peterson (44.8), Levi Wallace (43.6), Kwon Alexander (43.6), and Chandon Sullivan (36.6). Well he had some bad plays, Sullivan also had some good ones as he only gave up one reception on three targets for 1 yard. Also, Larry Ogunjobi continues to take up space in the middle and had a sack yet continues to get no love from PFF.  As for Kwon Alexander, he scored well in coverage with a 67.6 but had a 29.1 run defense score and a 26.1 tackling score.


With nothing really jumping out on special teams other than Boswell’s 69.1 field goal score and Harvin‘s 67.2 punting score, they did not receive their own section this week and are instead included with the overall thoughts.

I thought the offensive scores had some that were a little questionable. While I felt Kenny Pickett had a great second half, I thought the lack of production in the first half might’ve affected his score more as he graded more than 16 points higher than Matthew Stafford despite having similar numbers. I also didn’t see where Isaac Seumalo should’ve received such a low pass blocking grade but perhaps I simply missed it and was overly impressed with his run blocking. I thought the assessment of Dan Moore Junior scoring in the 70s across the board was accurate for his performance was surprised that Chuck’s was right there with him as I didn’t notice him as much but probably just wasn’t watching. I also didn’t think Jaylen Warren deserved such a low mark.

On defense I like to see players like Herbig and Benton getting notarized for their contributions even if it’s in a limited capacity. There are a lot of grades in the middle that didn’t stand out one way or the other. One that wasn’t mentioned in the defensive section was Minkah Fitzpatrick with a 64.1 overall score. While he deservedly had a 74.0 run defense score, the top on the team, his coverage score was given a 56.7. So sometimes players are graded a little lower than I expected.

This week I thought there were some things that I would’ve looked at differently but not anything egregious outside of Isaac Seumalo.

My grade of this week’s PFF scores: C+


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