NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 5 PFF ReFocused: Pittsburgh Steelers 38, Philadelphia Eagles 29

Despite valiant efforts from Travis Fulgham and Miles Sanders, the Philadelphia Eagles were unable to thwart the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, who are now 4-0 on the season after a 38-29 win. 

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.


The Steelers' offense was humming with Ben Roethlisberger under center, scoring on six of their nine offensive drives, one of which was cut short due to an Eric Ebron fumble. Second-round wide receiver Chase Claypool had by far the best game of his short career. He was able to feast on the Eagles' defense wherever he lined up, hauling in seven receptions for 110 yards, three touchdowns and three first downs. And he used his large 6-foot-4, 227-pound frame to bully cornerbacks, including Darius Slay. Claypool even recorded a rushing touchdown on a sweep just outside the end zone. 

It was a slow day for the rest of the Steelers' weapons, as James Conner was able to gain only 46 yards on 16 carries, though one was a plunge past the pylon. Juju Smith-Schuster was also held to four receptions for a measly 28 yards. 

Although quarterback Carson Wentz left the matchup with two interceptions, it was not all bad for the fifth-year signal-caller. In the red zone, he connected on all five of his throws for 40 yards and two touchdowns. He looked poised under pressure, too, completing 4-of-6 passes for 47 yards and one touchdown. Those were the only situations in which he looked comfortable, though.

When he was kept clean and able to read the defense, he had a 55.2% completion rate and a paltry 61.1 passer rating, both bottom-five marks of all quarterbacks who have played in Week 5 thus far. 

Fulgham gave the Steelers fits all game long, pulling in 10 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown. Eight more of his catches picked up first downs, as he was moving the chains for the Eagles at a high frequency. Five of his receptions gained 15 or more yards, and he came down with all three of his contested targets, flashing his ability in every facet. 

Sanders also had a stellar 74-yard scamper in the end zone for the Eagles' first score on the day. He was shut down on the ground after that, though, carrying the ball 10 times for six yards outside of the long run. 

Meanwhile, tight end Zach Ertz caught only one of his six targets for just six yards — another worrying sign for the once-formidable receiver. Over the past two games, he now has five receptions for 15 yards and a goose egg in the touchdown column. 

October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) against Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jack Driscoll (63) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Outside of Claypool, the Steelers had just one other rookie receive significant playing time: offensive guard Kevin Dotson. It was not his best day, as he was called for two penalties and struggled to create lanes in the running game. He was strong in pass protection, however, as he allowed just two quarterback hurries and zero sacks or hits against the Eagles' vaunted defensive line. 

Philadelphia also had a pair of rookies hit the gridiron in Week 5. Wide receiver John Hightower saw 44 snaps, the most among all Eagles receivers, but was ineffective. He reeled in just two of his five targets for 18 yards. Offensive tackle Jack Driscoll was thrust into the starting lineup after Lane Johnson was carted off the field. He was impressive in his limited time on the field, allowing zero pressures on 17 pass-blocking snaps. 

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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