Steelers offensive line struggles are real

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The Cleveland Browns face off with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 in a Halloween matchup in the AFC North. The narratives around both teams are interesting. The Browns were expected to compete at the top of the conference but “Is Baker Mayfield the franchise quarterback?” dominates the conversation.

For the Steelers, the demise of Ben Roethlisberger once again puts the attention directly on the quarterback position. While that narrative has become mostly fact, the discussion around the team’s offensive line and run game continues to draw attention.

Is the Pittsburgh offensive line actually struggling or is that just a function of a narrative? With the Browns top two Pro Football Focus graded defenders coming off the edge, do the Steelers have a chance to stop them this week?

A quick look at a few data points shows that the struggle is real for Steelers. ESPN ranks the Pittsburgh offensive line third-worst in pass block win rate (49%). Comparably, the Browns are the best (73%).

The Steelers line also ranks low in run block win rate, 27th overall, at 67% while the Browns are eighth-best at 72%.

Taking a look at Pittsburgh’s top five used offensive linemen and their PFF grades shows a similar sign of struggles.

Overall Grades

  • G Kevin Dotson – 61.2

  • G Trai Turner – 62.1

  • T Chukwuma Okorafor – 55.2

  • T Dan Moore Jr. – 60.6

  • C Kendrick Green – 57.7

Grades in Pass Blocking

  • G Kevin Dotson – 75.4

  • G Trai Turner – 72.0

  • T Chukwuma Okorafor – 64.4

  • T Dan Moore Jr. – 64.3

  • C Kendrick Green – 59.8

Grades in Run Blocking

  • G Kevin Dotson – 55.3

  • G Trai Turner – 60.2

  • T Chukwuma Okorafor – 54.7

  • T Dan Moore Jr. – 55.3

  • C Kendrick Green – 54.7

While the Browns will have to do everything to protect Baker Mayfield from getting injured again against the Steelers pass rushers, at least they have a good line to do so. The Steelers line has struggled to protect Roethlisberger and opening holes in the run game. Thankfully for Cleveland, their defensive line is capable of taking advantage of that Pittsburgh weakness.