News & Analysis

PFF ReFocused, NFL Preseason Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28

By PFF Analysis Team
Aug 10, 2019
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pittsburgh Steelers

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Second-year Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington turned in a stellar performance in the team’s 30-28 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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 2.0.

Final Score

Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback Josh Dobbs had an up-and-down night in his first preseason action of 2019. His first pass of the game was a perfectly thrown dime to James Washington up the seam that resulted in a 43-yard gain. That drive stalled just three plays later, however, when Dobbs forced a throw into coverage with four Tampa Bay defenders on third and long.

Rookie Florida product Fred Johnson, a 6-foot-7, 326-pound guard, played well above expectation in this one. Johnson picked up some positively graded blocks in the run game and turned in quite the performance in pass protection across 50-plus offensive snaps.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jeremiah Ledbetter made a couple of impact plays in the running game. In the second quarter, he dropped rookie Benny Snell for a loss of two yards with Pittsburgh backed up deep in their own end. Later in the game, Ledbetter stuffed Snell again for no gain when the Steelers were threatening in the red zone.

Bucs tight ends Antony Auclair and Tanner Hudson both earned impressive grades in this one. Hudson especially drew the attention of the crowd with his one-handed touchdown grab late in the contest.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers’ running backs as a unit struggled in this one. Rookie Benny Snell carried the load early on (a team-high 13 carries) but averaged just two yards per carry on the night. The backs never really got into a rhythm and struggled a bit in pass protection, as well.

Steelers second-year offensive linemen Chukwuma Okorafor and J.C. Hassenauer both struggled mightily against the Bucs’ defensive front. Both players looked like fish out of water in pass protection and as run blockers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was targeted early and often against the Steelers. The 2019 second-round rookie was responsible for a touchdown in coverage and was hit with a big pass interference call on that a drive that ultimately ended with a touchdown.

Safety Lukas Denis, an undrafted Boston College product, didn’t have a great start to his NFL career. He picked up multiple negative grades in coverage across more than 40 defensive snaps on Friday night.

[Editor’s Note: All of PFF’s player grades and advanced statistics are finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers before 5pm ET on the Monday following each weekend’s slate of games during the season. Sign up today to gain access!]

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