Monday, November 03, 2014

Matt Spaeth tops PFF grades for Steelers in win over Ravens

By Neal Coolong

November 3, 2014

It wasn't the prettiest game on earth, particularly from an offensive standpoint.

The Steelers ran away from the Baltimore Ravens starting in the second quarter, fueled by a pass rush that appears to be more of a reality than a mirage. Leading that pass rush was veteran James Harrison, who was given a 4.8 grade from NFL plays evaluation web site Pro Football Focus in Pittsburgh's 43-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.

Harrison had two sacks in the game and made life miserable for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Cameron Heyward was also frequently in the backfield, earning a 4.1 grade as the second-highest Steelers player graded in the game.

Cornerback Antwon Blake received a 2.3 to round out the top scorers on defense.

Outside linebacker Jason Worilds scored a -4.7, the only defensive player in the red for the Steelers.

Offensively, despite scoring 43 points, PFF didn't view the Steelers' performance as particularly outstanding. Tight end Matt Spaeth had a heads-up release on a botched extra point in the first half that netted the two-point conversion on a throw from punter Brad Wing, as well as a nice catch on a late touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger. It earned him a 2.2 grade, the highest among the offensive players.

Ben Roethlisberger scored a 2.1, joining Spaeth as the only two Steelers players to earn a positive grade higher than 2.0.

The Steelers offensive line, Ramon Foster in particular (-4.8), had a rough outing only one week after performing quite well against the Colts. But it's understandable, given the talent level of their opponents. Tight end Heath Miller had a -2.1, the second-lowest offensive score.

Pittsburgh moved to 6-3 on the season, and the mark of a good team is winning ugly. Generally, we agree with these scores (Foster was the lone member of the Losers list in our Winners and Losers column, and Harrison and Blake were on the Winners list. Honorable mention would have gone to Spaeth and Heyward). PFF does an initial grading, then revisits it later when all the film becomes available. We wouldn't expect these grades to drop or rise much, though.

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