Lions vs. Steelers: Best and worst PFF grades from Week 10

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It wasn’t exactly the performance the Detroit Lions were hoping for coming out their bye. Still, after one of the most unappealing, uncompetitive games you will ever watch, the Lions mustered out a 16-16 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If there was ever a game where neither team deserved to claim victory, it was most certainly this one where each team was doing everything in their power to lose this week. The Lions offense became predictable real quick, and once the Steelers were able to solve that issue, it was all over for them. On the flip side of the defense, they did put in a solid effort, but when you are facing Mason Rudolph on the other side, it can be difficult to judge how well the players are performing.

The performances speak for themselves, and with the latest PFF grades from this matchup, it almost lines up with how you would anticipate from this week.

Top Offensive Performers

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1. T Matt Nelson: 75.2

2. RT Penei Sewell: 72.9

3. TE Brock Wright: 67.5

4. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: 61.4

5. RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 58.6

For context, Godwin Igwebuike (93.9), Jermar Jefferson (84.7), and Will Holden (79.5) were the top three performers but did not meet the snap requirements to be counted.

After being regulated back as a swing tackle with the return of Taylor Decker, Matt Nelson became the next big man up and paved the way, clearing lanes and gaps for 229 rushing yard performance from the running game. Penei Sewell keeps on improving week by week, and the transition over to right tackle was a smooth as anyone hoped for, allowing no pressures or sacks this week.

Brock Wright wasn’t heavily used in the receiving game, only seeing two targets, but he was part of the blockade for the rushing attack earning the second-highest run-blocking grade behind Matt Nelson. The receiving performance was lackluster, but St. Brown was the main beneficiary this week, catching four out of his six targets for 61 yards.

Vaitai earned a slightly below-average grade but still managed to earn a nod in the top performers, which should speak to how lackluster the offense was this week. Additionally, Vaitai earned his paycheck against the Steelers in pass blocking, earning a top-five pass-blocking performance across the league.

Worst Offensive Players

(AP Photo/Don Wright)

1. TE T.J. Hockenson: 41.9

2. QB Jared Goff: 44.0

3. WR Kalif Raymond: 49.8

4. LG Jonah Jackson: 50.6

5. RB D’Andre Swift: 52.8

Hockenson did not do himself any favors earning two costly penalties that could’ve given the Lions a chance to seal the victory in overtime and only saw two targets and didn’t add much to blocking. There really isn’t much left to say about Goff than what you’ve already heard. Still, his injury was clearly affecting him, turning the Lions offense into a very one-dimensional attack.

Raymond’s performance probably could be attributed to how the offense ran this week, but he caught four out of his six targets for 29 yards while dropping one of his targets. Jackson was the weak link on the offensive line this week, giving way to two pressures, including a sack.

Considering how well Swift performed, this grading caught me by surprise. He did rush for a career-best 130 yards, but where he got docked was receiving dropping two passes and did not perform well in pass blocking grading.

Top Defensive Players

(AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

1. CB Mark Gilbert: 83.3

2. EDGE Charles Harris: 78.6

3. S Tracy Walker: 76.5

4. NT Alim McNeill: 74.7

5. S Will Harris: 73.0

Gilbert substituted when Jerry Jacobs went down and performed better than most would’ve thought. The former Steeler allowed 42 yards on four passing targets, including a pass breakup and forced fumble to help give the Lions a chance at victory. Harris was a key contributor on run defense, earning the highest grade for the Lions this week while generating two pressures in pass rushing.

Before Walker went out with a concussion, he was laying hit after hit making sure the defender felt it to a tune of six tackles and the Lions highest-graded tackler, and he only gave up a six-yard catch. McNeill saw his snaps decrease this week, but he shows off his athleticism up the middle earning the highest grade in pass-rushing for the Lions.

This is not a mirage; Harris actually turned in probably his best performance this season, contributing on nearly every aspect on the defensive front while only giving up only 21 yards on three catches.

Worst Defensive Players

(AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

1. S Dean Marlowe: 46.8

2. CB Jerry Jacobs: 53.5

3. LB Alex Anzalone: 55.0

4. DT Levi Onwuzurike: 55.6

5. DT Nick Williams: 59.1

The substitution of Walker for Marlowe was night and day, as Marlowe was soft in coverage and provided little top cover help turning him into a liability. This week, Jacobs had the worst tackling performance, missing two tackles while allowing 38 yards on three catches.

Anzalone was the Lions leading tackler with eight, but he did whiff on two, gave up 26 yards in coverage, and turned in a below-average performance from a player the Lions lean on as the defense leader. Onwuzurike and Williams didn’t do anything spectacular on the defensive front earning two tackles apiece but was on the forefront of the Steelers rushing attack yielding 105 yards to Najee Harris.

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