Philadelphia Eagles 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 3
Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Philadelphia’s blowout of Pittsburgh.
Quarterback grade: Carson Wentz, 79.7
Carson Wentz builds on impressive start to career
After solid performances Weeks 1 and 2, the rookie signal-caller officially had his breakout game. He was accurate on 26 of 30 aimed passes, and was particularly impressive when attacking downfield. Although he only attempted eight passes that traveled at least 10 yards through the air from the line of scrimmage, he made the most of them by completing five of them for 153 of his 298 yards and a touchdown. He was outstanding under pressure, as he completed four of seven throws when faced with a pass rush for 77 yards and a score, and posted a ridiculous QB rating of 135.1. He was similarly successful when Pittsburgh blitzed, as his QB rating was 123.3 on 11 blitzes.
Top offensive grades:
RT Lane Johnson, 86.5
QB Carson Wentz, 79.7
LG Allen Barbre, 78
RG Brandon Brooks, 74.9
C Jason Kelce, 71.8
Dominant performance from Johnson highlights big day for offensive line
Johnson did an outstanding job in all facets Sunday, consistently sealing the edge on outside zone runs and posting a clean sheet in pass protection. Barbre and Kelce also had strong days on the ground, and Brooks, like Johnson, did not give up any pressures in pass protection. Despite Wentz’s big day, nothing of the receivers had breakout performances, but the combination of TE Brent Celek and RB Darren Sproles did plenty of damage through the air. They combined to catch all nine of their targets for 189 yards and Sproles’ spectacular touchdown to open the third quarter on a brilliant scramble play by Wentz.
Top defensive grades:
LB Jordan Hicks, 86.5
CB Nolan Carroll, 84.5
DT Fletcher Cox, 84.1
S Malcolm Jenkins, 82.8
OLB Brandon Graham, 81.2
Carroll shuts down the Steelers
The secondary had their issues against Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, but even the best players struggle against him (see Chris Harris last season). Rookie CB Jalen Mills was lined up against him most of the day and yielded six catches on seven targets to Brown for 71 yards (on the day Mills gave up nine catches for 146 yards). However, Nolan Carroll effectively shut down the right side, as he was targeted eight times and only allowing three catches for 33 yards and broke up two passes. Cox was his normal self, as he racked up two sacks and three hurries on 37 pass rushes.
Quarterback grade: Ben Roethlisberger, 38.7
Roethlisberger struggles in a big way
Roethlisberger had easily his worst game of the season, as he completed only 54.5 percent of his passes, and was the biggest culprit of the Steelers’ offensive struggles as they relied on the passing game to bring them back once the Eagles jumped out to a big lead. While he only threw one interception, he struggled to connect with any receiver not named Antonio Brown, as he was just 12-of-25 for 117 yards to anyone else. His biggest weakness was throwing outside the numbers to his left, as he only completed two passes for 20 yards on 10 attempts and his only interception came from that side.
Top offensive grades:
WR Antonio Brown, 79.7
WR Eli Rogers, 71.1
OG B.J. Finney, 70.8
C Maurkice Pouncey, 69.8
LT Alejandro Villanueva, 68.2
Right side of the line struggles to hold up in pass protection
The Steelers offensive line had a mixed game, as the left side all graded above 65 as starting LG Ramon Foster was the lowest at 65.7 before he left the game. However, the right side had major issues, led by David DeCastro who allowed 6 total pressures with two sacks, two hits and two QB hurries and a 42.2 game grade. Next to him at tackle Marcus Gilbert had an only slightly better day as he finished at 42.7 with a sack, a hit and a hurry.
Top defensive grades:
CB William Gay, 80.9
CB Russ Cockrell, 80.6
OLB Jarvis Jones, 75
S Robert Golden, 73.8
DE Stephen Tuitt, 69.8
Poor linebacker play leads to long day for Pittsburgh defense
ILB Lawrence Timmons left the game early with an injury, and the entire LB corps suffered as a result. Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams and Arthur Moats all posted grades under 40.0, with Shazier and Williams responsible for seven catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. Moats was too easily sealed on the edge, as he struggled to get off blocks by Johnson on outside zone runs, as well as counter runs that often matched him up against a pulling Allen Barbre.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Eagles QB Carson Wentz
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