Steelers Vs. Seahawks Week 6 Recap: PFF Snap Totals & Grades

What a rollercoaster Sunday night game overtime game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, evening their record to 3-3 heading into the bye week! In this article I would like to provide data from Pro Football Focus and takeaways from watching the film.

Let’s start with the offense:

Tight end Pat Freiermuth was the highest graded Steeler according to PFF with a 74.1 grade along with Kevin Dotson with a 70. Chase Claypool was the lowest graded player on offense at 47.6. What grades do you find surprising?

The Steelers offense took the field first and went to the ground game with running back Najee Harris on the first two plays. On first down, Harris only gained a yard with guard Kevin Dotson falling to the ground on the play. A four-yard gain followed for Harris, where Dotson pulled and center Kendrick Green was beat on his block. This set up third and four where guard Trai Turner was penalized for the false start. Third and nine now, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws for the first time of the game to Harris split out wide running a slant and getting space from tight end Eric Ebron’s crossing route on the catch for six yards, but Seattle’s secondary bottled up the yards after catch necessary for the conversion, three and out.

Pittsburgh’s second drive began at 10:14 and they came out on a quick pass to wide receiver James Washington for a successful play of nine yards. On second and one Roethlisberger got the ball out quick again to wide receiver Diontae Johnson on a screen from the slot and did a great job finding just enough space on the sideline to pick up the first down. Roethlisberger went to Johnson again on first down but this time on a deep route where Johnson got good position on his deep route, but the pass was behind and broken up. The Steelers went playaction on second and ten and Seahawks safety Jamal Adams came free on the blitz off the edge and Roethlisberger had to throw it away. Third and ten and tackle Dan Moore was beat around the edge putting pressure on Roethlisberger but eluded and found tight end Pat Freiermuth who was able to go down and make the grab but short of the sticks forcing the punt. All pass plays on this drive and wide receiver Chase Claypool went down but would return.

With 4:55 left in the first quarter Roethlisberger pumped to Harris the passed short to Freiermuth on the other side fighting for yards after the catch to gain nine yards. Unfortunately, on second and one Johnson was penalized for offensive pass interference blocking for Claypool and negating his catch for a would be first down. On second and eleven Harris ran for no gain where Green allowed the defender to slip off the block and make the play. The offensive line blocked well overall except for Turner on third and eleven where Johnson ran a great route to pick up just enough for the first down! Pittsburgh went back to the running game on first and ten, but Turner and Moore got pushed back on the loss of two for Harris. On second and twelve Roethlisberger went back to Johnson again where he created nice separation for the catch and gain of six. Third and six now, and the target is Johnson once again, but the Seattle corner was out in front of him resulting in Roethlisberger’s second deep incompletion, Steelers punt for the third time in a row to start the game.

The Steelers got the ball back early in the second quarter with good field position off a short punt, starting the possession with Harris on the ground but Moore and Dotson allowed penetration on the gain of one. Harris had a successful run the next try for a gain of six on a toss where Claypool and wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud blocked well creating space on the sideline. Third and three and Roethlisberger pumps then feels pressure that comes between Green and Turner but is able to get the pass off to Ebron with a defender on his back and make the catch for the first third down conversion. The following running play on first down the offensive line blocked well but Ebron allowed penetration forcing Harris to cut then he slipped on the gain of one. On second and nine Johnson lined up tight and got the reverse hand off where Freiermuth was out in front and created a lane for the 25-yard gain! First and ten in the red zone and the pass goes to Freiermuth short of the sticks but fights hard through contact for 12 yards and the first down, very encouraging to see him targeted in this area! First and goal now and Roethlisberger pumps then targets Claypool over the middle, but the pass is tipped high in the air and luckily not picked off due to his hustle to hit Adams. Harris ran an out route from the slot on second and goal and dive in for the first score of the game! Good job by the offense to capitalize good field position, Steelers up seven.

Pittsburgh got the ball back quick and got Johnson going in the pass game again on a screen for six yards, successful play, and Moore and Claypool creating space with their blocks. Right back to Johnson again, this time quickly on a slant that picks up just enough for the first down. Roethlisberger then found Harris in the pass game off good play action for the gain of 12, where he initially helped Moore pass protect then leaked out for the wide-open short pass and space to run for the first down. Harris got the look here again but this time on the ground, only able to gain two yards with Adams muscling through Claypool to make the play. Second and eight and Freiermuth gets another grab here for nine and the first down, and so great to see him be more of a factor in the game! Seattle was called for a facemask penalty on a toss play to running back Kalen Ballage setting up another first down.

Harris had a good play in the pass game running an out route from the backfield and making a spin move to avoid two tacklers on the successful play of five yards. On second and four Harris ran this time but was only able to get one yard with Ebron letting his man make the play on his block attempt. Third and three now and the Seahawks get their second penalty of the drive for offsides which allows the first down and gets Pittsburgh in the red zone with 2:50 left in the half. Harris gets the handoff for a gain of four, where the offensive line blocked well but Ebron went low but didn’t connect allowing his man to make the tackle. Second and six and Harris runs for another three yards where the blocking was good, but Adams came from the safety spot with a solid hit setting up third and three at the two-minute warning, The Steelers go quick pass here to Claypool over the middle getting plenty for the first down. First and goal and Harris runs for a success of five yards and his sixth successful play of the drive, with Dotson and Green getting a good push in the middle. Harris ran again on second and goal but for only one yard this time, with Seattle plugging up the middle in the goal line situation. Third and goal now, and Ebron goes in motion and takes the sweep handoff from Roethlisberger, gets a good block from Watt for the tight end position, and jumps over a defender to get into the end zone for the score! Great long drive, five of six successful plays in the red zone, and now lead by 14!

The Steelers offense got the ball back with 36 seconds left in the first half and started with a screen to Johnson and ran out of bounds for two yards. On second and eight Turner allowed pressure, but the defender seemed to have hands in the neck area which effected Roethlisberger’s throw out in front of Harris on the incompletion. On third and eight Roethlisberger went short to Johnson but only got one yard and running out of bounds leading to a punt.

The offense got their next shot with 9:55 in the third quarter and came out with a nice pass play to McCloud on a quick out from the slot wide open and getting yards after catch for the 15-yard gain. The Steelers got another successful play on first and ten with Harris on the ground, with Dotson pulling and good blocks from Green and tackle Chukwuma Okorafor on the six-yard gain. On second and four Roethlisberger went for a short pass to Claypool, but they were not on the same page as he ran a deep route resulting in another miscue as we’ve seen throughout the season so far. On the next pass Adams came on the blitz and Harris did not get there for the pass block in time allowing pressure on Roethlisberger who was able to get a nice pass out quick to Johnson for the gain of 14 on a third and four conversion.

Roethlisberger followed this up with another good deep throw to Johnson for a gain of 25, where Moore got beat around the edge but five of six plays to start this drive were successful! On first down in the red zone Roethlisberger went play action then threw to Claypool who had a shot at making the grab but unfortunately fell incomplete. Then Claypool and Okorafor were both penalized for illegal blocks setting up second and 20 pushing the Steelers back to the 27-yard line. Roethlisberger found Ebron on a short route for six yards here and on third and 14 Freiermuth got the target short of the sticks, but the defender was there to stop him short of the sticks and holding Pittsburgh to a field goal. Ten-point lead and an unfortunate end to a drive that started well but unable to get in the end zone.

Pittsburgh’s final offensive drive of the third quarter began with 2:58 on the clock and went to Harris on the ground but Ebron let the defender slide off his block allowing the tackle for a loss of one yard. On second and 11 Harris made a short middle catch but was tackled quickly on the four-yard gain. This set up third and seven, where Moore allowed pressure on Roethlisberger’s throw to Claypool that seemed to affect the timing and the ball a little behind allowing the defender to tip the ball which forced a punt. Really wanted to see the offense respond here with points after Seattle surged back into the game with a strong third quarter. Three and out though still up by three points.

With 12:52 in the fourth quarter and a tie game, Pittsburgh came out running the ball on a nice ten-yard run by Harris with good blocks from Green, Turner, and Okorafor. Similar success on the next play, this time with Ballage breaking tackles on nice 11-yard run. The next play Roethlisberger pump faked but lost the grip on the ball and Turner giving up on his block. This was initially ruled incomplete but after Seattle challenged the play it was ruled a fumble and turnover to Seattle on the recovery. First turnover of the game for either side and a huge mistake with the game still tied.

The Steelers offense returned with 9:45 left in the fourth quarter and started with Harris on the ground for two yards where he was met in the hole by the linebacker. Claypool made on of his few plays here on second and eight, making the catch and breaking a tackle for the 12-yard gain and first down. Harris then had another first down run, but the offensive line did not provide a running lane and Moore was injured on the play. Tackle Joe Haeg came in at left tackle and got help from Harris on the pass block with Okorafor staying at right tackle on the incomplete deep pass that Johnson dove and had a shot but couldn’t make the grab, also noted Dotson allowing pressure. Third and nine now and another deep pass from Roethlisberger to Claypool but the pass was overthrown and another incompletion between the two forcing the punt. Another fail in a key situation with the game on the line.

Pittsburgh returned on offense with 5:19 left in the fourth quarter and ran with Harris who was able to make a cut when Freiermuth got pushed into his run lane for a successful gain of four yards. On second and six Roethlisberger cashed in on the first down pass to Freiermuth on an out route, continuing to get more targets than previous games! Harris provided another successful run on first down of nine yards with good blocks from Green and Haeg to spring him. Second and one Pittsburgh went right back to Harris who provided the first down on the gain of three where the line blocked well overall, but Turner pulled and didn’t land his block allowing the tackle. This is the play Seattle had the scary injury with the player being stretchered off and really hope he is ok. On first and ten Harris carried again for ten yards on a nice cutback with good blocks from Gentry to spring him for the first down. Pittsburgh continued with the run game and running the clock to the two-minute warning with Harris on five straight successful runs. Six straight successful plays to start the drive including Freiermuth’s catch.

The drive continued with a penalty at the two- minute warning off a Claypool offensive pass interference call on a deep target setting up second and 15. Roethlisberger targeted Johnson here but the pass was off target and almost picked off by Adams. Third and 15 now where Roethlisberger passed short to Harris who gave great yards after catch effort, but his hurdle did not work forcing fourth down. With how well the drive began, very discouraging to not get in the end zone here, but Boswell makes the 52-yard field goal for the three-point lead with 1:35 left.

The Steelers got the ball in overtime after the huge Watt sack but had a short run by Harris, and two-yard catches by Freiermuth and McCloud who took a big hit and was stopped short forcing the punt on the three and out.

Off of Watt’s strip sack the Steelers had good field position and kneeled to run some clock, then brought Boswell out to make the walk off field goal for the win!

Now let’s look at the defense:

Tre Norwood and Cameron Heyward highlight the PFF grades for the defense with 90+ grades and Isaiah Buggs was the lowest graded defender at 32.6. Which grades were surprising to you?

The first drive for the Pittsburgh defense came early with 12:19 on the clock and started strong on a good shovel pass stop by defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs getting a good push off the line of scrimmage for a loss of one. Seattle ran on second and 11 with running back Alex Collins (starting for the injured Chris Carson), where linebacker Alex Highsmith made a nice move inside but Collins bounced outside to get 7 yards with defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and Joe Schobert stayed off the blocker to combine for the tackle. Third and four now, and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (starting for the injured Russell Wilson) completes to wide receiver D.K. Metcalf but Steelers cornerback Tre Norwood makes a great read and third down stop, three and out!

With 8:04 Pittsburgh’s defense benefited from a false start penalty on Seattle on the first play setting up first and 15. Collins ran here for a gain of seven, where Schobert committed inside allowing the cutback lane and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on the tackle. On second and eight Smith dropped back and linebacker T.J. Watt was able to get around the edge and hit his arm on the throw to force the incompletion. Third and eight and safety Terrell Edmunds had an opportunity but missed a tackle along linebacker Robert Spillane, Fitzpatrick, and cornerback Cam Sutton each having a shot to make a play but the short pass and yards after catch went for 27 yards! Defensive lineman Chris Wormley was able to provide a push making Smith scramble but had the time to complete the pass for the first down. The Seahawks went back to Collins in the run game for a gain of six where defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux was blocked to the ground and Wormley was pushed back. Linebacker Alex Highsmith made a great play behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of one on the second and four run play and Mondeaux getting penetration. Third and five and Smith targets Tyler Lockett but Norwood had good coverage and tipped the pass incomplete providing another third down stop in a row!

The defense returned with 35 seconds left in the first quarter and got a great play from cornerback Arthur Maulet who came off the edge to pressure Smith then redirected off the pass to quickly make the tackle for a loss of three with Highsmith missing the opportunity just before. Second quarter now, and Smith is able to connect with Metcalf on a short route with linebacker Devin Bush in coverage missing the initial tackle opportunity but sticking with the play and combining with Fitzpatrick for the tackle short of the sticks. Third and one and Smith targets a short in route over the middle, but Watt gets up and bats the pass down for the three and out defensive stop!

The Steelers defense returned with 9:55 in the second quarter and Metcalf made a low grab with Haden in coverage and Fitzpatrick on the tackle but after a gain of 14. On first and ten, Heyward does a great job getting around his blocker with great hand use and the sack! The following pass was an incompletion with Sutton in coverage setting up third and 18. Seattle threw the dump off pass as the Steelers played off, Sutton missing a tackle, but cornerback James Pierre forced him out of bounds for a gain of one. Another good job overall by the defense to force a punt.

Pittsburgh had one last defensive drive of the first half with 1:04 on the clock, and Seattle came out passing. On first down the incompletion was batted by Wormley on a nice play. The next pass was intended for Lockett deep but was a little low and couldn’t quite make the grab. Third and ten and Highsmith comes up huge to get the sack, three and out, and no points allowed in the first half!

The Steelers defense took the field first to begin the second half, with Bush reacting well and getting off his block to make the tackle but allowed a successful gain of five yards on the running play. The success for Seattle continued here on the ground with good blocking pushing the Steelers defensive line back, especially Wormley who was double teamed opening the hole for the 11-yard gain. On first and ten Collins got his third straight carry to begin the half, this time for an explosive 21-yard gain where Seattle got good all-around blocks on the Steelers defense with Schobert allowing the angle and getting blocked out. First and ten and the Seahawks go to the pass game with Metcalf on a screen where he was able to make Haden miss for yards after catch on the gain of nine with Edmunds making his second tackle in a row.

Back to the run game they went, with the Steelers front seven shooting inside but the runner bounced out and got the first down by the time Haden could get there for the tackle on the five-yard gain. Collins then set Seattle up in the red zone with another successful run for seven yards where Wormley was blocked well but was able to shed his block late for the tackle. On second and three another run, another seven-yard gain where the Seahawks offensive line won again, coming out of halftime owning the Steelers front seven. First and goal now and I bet you guessed it, another run but Watt was trying his best to make a play to force a fumble but called for unnecessary roughness aggressively punching at the ball like a punching bag to no avail. The next first and goal attempt was a good stop for no gain by Watt and Highsmith getting off their blocks. No such luck on second and goal though, where Schobert committed inside too early allowing the path for Collins to dive for the goal line for the touchdown. Seattle had ten plays on this drive, nine of them were runs, eight of those were successful, and they repeatedly attacked the left side of the Pittsburgh defensive line to put their first points on the board. Steelers up by seven.

With 5:35 left in the third quarter up by ten points the Steelers came out with a nice run stop from defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk and Highsmith for no gain, a refreshing site after all the run success they had on the previous drive. The Seahawks went play action on second down and threw to Lockett on the short pass where Maulet and Sutton were playing way off in coverage allowing the easy yards after catch for the first down on the gain of 14. On first and ten Wormley was able to make the tackle with Bush accelerating quickly to the runner missing the angle on the gain of three. Loudermilk and Wormley got into the backfield on the next pass on second and seven, but Smith got the throw out to the tight end with plenty of separation, then makes Sutton and Fitzpatrick miss tackle opportunities for yards after the catch then stiff-arming Schobert to nearly get in the end zone on the 41-yard gain and huge play allowed. First and goal now, Schobert and Watt both missed tackles in the back field but Heyward provided a nice play on the run stop after to keep them out of the end zone. Second and goal was a different story though, with Watt getting fooled on the playaction and Edmunds getting pick on the out route by the tight end for the touchdown. Second score for the Seahawks in the third quarter, Pittsburgh’s lead cut to three.

Pittsburgh’s defense returned with 1:25 left in the third quarter and allowed a big run on first down of 14 yards where Bush was washed out of the play. The next run was stopped for a gain of three with Heyward making the tackle beating the tight ends block attempt. On second and seven Smith looked for Lockett on the pass but had linebacker Melvin Ingram in his face and effected the accuracy and fell incomplete with Haden in coverage. Third down and seven now, and the Seahawks got an explosive run here for 26 yards where Watt got pancaked and Fitzpatrick missed a tackle to close out the third quarter that Seattle owned and got back in the game.

Seattle maintained possession to start the fourth quarter and begun in the red zone with another successful run where Watt and Wormley combined for the tackle on the five-yard gain. On second and five Sutton reacted well to the screen pass and made the play short of the sticks setting up third and two. Highsmith stepped up big here for the sack on third down and in the red zone, a huge stop to hold them to the field goal. Tie game.

Seattle’s offense got the ball back quickly off the fumble by Roethlisberger but started with a holding penalty. This set up first and 20 where the Seahawks got another big run of ten yards where Schobert and Bush both got blocked out of the play. On second and ten Watt provided another big play batting the pass down to force third and ten. Seattle threw a short pass here but Norwood came up big again on third down getting around the blocker and making the tackle in the backfield for a loss of four! Great three and out stop here to keep them from putting points on the board off the Roethlisberger fumble.

Tie game still with 7:29 in the fourth quarter Pittsburgh’s defense got two run stops in a row, each for a loss of one and Watt in on both of those plays with Heyward combining on the first play as well. This set up a third and 12 where Smith got the completion, but Heyward and Spillane were able to track and make the tackle short of the sticks forcing the punt. Great job here forcing the three and out and not allowing points late in the game.

The Steelers defense came back with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter and Watt got pressure on the complete pass where Norwood pushed him out on the gain of seven. On second and three the Seahawks got a successful run for six where Mondeaux got pushed back allowing the lane for the first down. The Steelers were playing off to avoid a big play allowing the short catch for 7 yards with Fitzpatrick and Bush on the tackle. On second and three Bush did a good job to run to the catch and make the tackle short of the sticks setting up a huge third and one with 28 seconds left. Unfortunately, Smith found Metcalf on an out route making the catch on the sideline over Haden’s outstretched hand…first down. Seattle got another completion over the middle for seven yards with Fitzpatrick making the tackle setting up second and three. Metcalf made the catch again along the sideline and Pierre made a great play to knock the ball out on a forced fumble, but then they spiked the ball, but the clock ran down to zero. Unfortunately, the officials reviewed the play and gave Seattle three seconds back which was HUGE, allowing the Seahawks to make a field goal to tie the game and we’re heading to overtime.

The defense came out to start the overtime period running with Watt shedding his block well on the one-yard gain. The next pass went for a long gain of 21-yards to Lockett with Sutton in coverage. Heyward beat the blocker on the next first down run for a nice play in the backfield for a loss of four. Second and 14 the Seahawks got a nice 10-yard gain with Fitzpatrick and Bush making the tackle setting up third and four where Watt came up with the huge sack forcing Seattle to punt!

Pittsburgh’s defense came back out and on the first play Watt provided a HUGE strip sack that Bush recovered giving the ball right back to the offense!

Lastly, let’s look at special teams:

McCloud started the game with a nice kick return finding the crease for a 37-yard return! Punter Pressley Harvin came on for his first attempt early in the first quarter and the 45-yard punt was fair caught at the ten-yard line. Harvin’s second punt in the first quarter went to the 12-yard line where Benny Snell made a good tackle on a short return. Harvin’s third punt was a 57-yarder at the end of the first quarter which was fielded at the seven-yard line where Justin Layne slipped as the returner made his move with Derek Watt making the tackle. The kickoff following Pittsburgh’s first touchdown was returned and Marcus Allen missed a tackle opportunity with Watt getting just enough contact for the tackle. McCloud had a punt return with 8:12 in the second quarter but went for no gain with too much dancing around instead of running forward. Harvin punted again seconds before halftime going 56 yards but barely went into the end zone for the touchback.

Kicker Chris Boswell made his first field goal attempt mid-third quarter from 27 yards out giving the Steelers a ten-point lead. On the following kickoff Justin Layne ran past the returner and Spillane couldn’t bring him down right away but stuck with the play to make the tackle to the 40-yard line. Seattle had an illegal formation penalty on their kickoff at the end of the third quarter setting the offense up at the 23-yard line. Harvin had a poor punt at the end of the third quarter that sailed out of bounds going only 32 yards. Harvin had a 50-yard punt mid fourth quarter that went to the 15-yard line and Layne made the tackle allowing only a three-yard return! McCloud got another punt return off a booming punt getting a 14-yard return. Boswell made another field goal, this time from 52 yards late in the fourth quarter to give the Steelers a three-point lead with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter! Harvin had a 57-yard punt in overtime to get the ball to the 15-yard line placing it out of bounds for no return.


Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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