NFL News & Analysis

NYG-PIT grades: Steelers' offense performs well in victory

Pittsburgh Steelers 24, New York Giants 14

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Steelers’ 24-14 victory over the Giants in Week 13:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback grade: Ben Roethlisberger, 83.6

Big Ben efficient in victory

Ben Roethlisberger threw deep just four times against the Giants, but completed two for 55 yards with a touchdown and an interception each. Hindered by his receivers early on with three drops, Roethlisberger was effective and didn’t make any mistakes outside of the interception to rookie cornerback Eli Apple. The Giants' pressure was nullified, as Big Ben was 5-of-9 for 110 yards and a touchdown, resulting in a passer rating of 136.3.

Top offensive grades:

C Maurkice Pouncey, 86.3
QB Ben Roethlisberger, 83.6
RG David DeCastro, 79.6
WR Antonio Brown, 78.7
TE Ladarius Green, 77.6

Steelers ride Bell with patience

Center Maurkice Pouncey led the Steelers’ rushing attack, with the best-graded game by a center thus far in Week 13. The combo of Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro proved too much for the Giants’ defensive line, as running back Le’Veon Bell ran 14 of his 29 carries between behind those two, gaining 69 of 119 yards and forcing three of his four missed tackles. Wide receiver Antonio Brown won his much-anticipated matchup with Giants CB Janoris Jenkins, catching all four of his targets for 40 yards and one excellent touchdown.

Top defensive grades:

ED James Harrison, 91.5
CB William Gay, 85.3
S Sean Davis, 82.9
CB Artie Burns, 80.5
LB Lawrence Timmons, 80

The ageless James Harrison abuses Giants second-year LT Ereck Flowers

With the best game by an edge defender this weekend, OLB James Harrison rushed the passer 18 times and recorded an astonishing seven pressures – one sack, one hit and five hurries – and also forced pressure on the holding call on Flowers in the end zone that resulted in a safety.  Two rookie defensive backs turned in impressive performances, as safety Sean Davis was targeted just twice, allowing just one catch for 16 yards while also intercepting Eli Manning in the red zone, and cornerback Artie Burns allowed five of six targets to be caught but only for 32 yards.

New York Giants

Quarterback grade: Eli Manning, 38.6

Manning unable to get in a rhythm with anyone outside of OBJ

It felt like Eli Manning tried to force-feed the ball to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in this game, and OBJ wound up with double the number of targets of any other Giants receiver. On 16 targets, Beckham caught 10 passes for 100 yards, but didn’t get in the end zone and did drop a pass. Manning struggled throwing deep, missing on all three passes of 20 or more yards, including an interception. Under pressure, Manning was solid, completing six of 11 attempts for 70 yards and a touchdown, resulting in a 104.4 passer rating. When given time, Manning struggled against the Steelers’ Cover-2 scheme, averaging just 4.6 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 58.4 from a clean pocket.

Top offensive grades:

LG Marshall Newhouse, 81.4
RT Bobby Hart, 80.2
C Weston Richburg, 78.4
RG John Jerry, 73.2
WR Sterling Shepard, 68.8

Supporting cast provides little to Giants’ offense

Outside of LT Ereck Flowers, the Giants’ offensive line played well enough to win the game for New York, as they allowed just four pressures on 46 pass-block snaps excluding Flowers, who himself allowed seven total pressures.  Typically not a strong running team, the Giants running backs were averaging four yards per carry, but the inefficiencies of the Giants’ passing attack hurt them in the long run and put the team in a pass-only mode for much of the game. RB Rashard Jennings was efficient out of the backfield, catching all six of his targets for 34 yards and a touchdown. After receiving targets zero targets a week ago, rookie WR Sterling Shepard caught four of eight targets, but only recorded 21 yards and a garbage-time touchdown.

Top defensive grades:

CB Eli Apple, 85.5
ED Olivier Vernon, 83.6
DI Damon Harrison, 77.9
S Andrew Adams, 77.2
ED Jason Pierre-Paul, 76.0 

Giants’ front seven struggles to get pressure

The Giants defense played OK in this one, but needed an excellent performance to shut down the high-powered Steelers’ attack. DE Olivier Vernon was excellent rushing the passer, recording two sacks and four hurries on 40 pass-rush snaps. Rookie CB Eli Apple allowed just three catches for 27 yards and recorded an interception. Damon Harrison added to his league-leading total of run stops among defensive tackles with five against Pittsburgh.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Steelers’ edge rusher James Harrison

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.


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