News & Analysis

NFL Week 3 PFF ReFocused: San Francisco 49ers 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

Despite turning the ball over five times, the San Francisco 49ers pulled off a 24-20 win over Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers at home.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

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Final Score

San Francisco 49ers 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

San Francisco 49ers

Nick Bosa had a productive day as a pass-rusher. Bosa flushed Rudolph from the pocket with an inside move on Alejandro Villanueva on third down, effectively ending a second-quarter drive. Bosa and Arik Armstead combined for a third-down hit on Mason Rudolph that caused an errant pass and ended a Steelers’ third-quarter drive.

Jimmy Garoppolo turned in a solid effort despite a lackluster box score. He was accurate throughout the night, and his turnovers were more so a result of chance than poor decision making on his part.

Rookie Deebo Samuel had a decent follow up to his five-catch, 86-yard outing in Week 2, but he could have had a much bigger day if he had been able to come down with a downfield shot that he lost control of while falling to the ground on a play where cornerback Joe Haden misjudged the ball. Second-year receiver Dante Pettis snagged the game-winning reception on coverage from Mark Barron.

Rookie Takeaways

Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa both had strong performances. Samuel finished the day with 44 receiving yards on three receptions, and Bosa had multiple pressures in the contest.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers appeared to try and protect Mason Rudolph by limiting his time in the pocket in the first half. Rudolph threw mostly short passes and screens. When Rudolph did throw the ball down the field in the first half, he was frequently off-target. In the second half, Rudolph delivered his best throws of the day. In the third quarter, Rudolph hit JuJu Smith-Schuster in stride on a crossing route. Rudolph's ball placement literally hit Smith-Schuster’s facemask and allowed him to outrun Ahkello Witherspoon on his way to a 76-yard touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Rudolph threw a well-placed deep ball down the right sideline to Diontae Johnson who had beat Jason Verett deep for a 39-yard touchdown.

James Conner was largely ineffective on the ground and fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter. Conner was also used on screens but the 49ers’ defense kept him largely in check.

New addition Minkah Fitzpatrick turned in an up-and-down first outing with his new team. Early on, he snagged an interception off a Joe Haden deflection as well as forcing a fumble, but he had too many missed tackles to call it a good day.

TJ Watt had a rather quiet day at the office as a pass-rusher against Mike McGlinchey and co. Overall, Pittsburgh's pass-rush had a rather solid evening with Laken Tomlinson struggling to pass protect on the inside.

Rookie Takeaways

Diontae Johnson didn't have an incredible stat line, but his day was highlighted by a deep touchdown grab over Jason Verrett. It was a beauty.

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