Steelers offense can’t hold a candle to other top teams in the NFL

The Steelers have been pitiful on offense in recent weeks. Here’s why they wouldn’t stand much of a shot against the NFL’s best teams right now.

After the hottest start in the 87-year history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin’s team is currently ice-cold. Pittsburgh lost their second consecutive team (albeit against a good opponent in the Buffalo Bills) and are looking to avoid dropping three straight. While taking care of the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15 should be a piece of cake, it’s hard to make a case that the Steelers could compete with the best teams in the league after how they have been looking.

After their last three contests against Baltimore, Washington, and Buffalo, Pittsburgh has averaged a dismal 14.6 offensive points per game over that stretch. After this unit showed promise early in the season, the Steelers offense has become remarkably hard to stomach over the past few weeks.

Drops have been a big issue for this team, as Diontae Johnson has now let the ball slip through his hands a whopping 12 times on 113 targets this year (9.4 percent). Tight end Eric Ebron has also been disastrous in this area – chipping in an additional 7 drops on 83 targets. However, drops are far from the only issue holding this group back.

Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the least efficient quarterbacks in the NFL in recent weeks, as he ranks near the bottom of the league in a few important areas:

Big Ben’s running game hasn’t done him any favors this year, as the Steelers rushing attack ranks 31st in the NFL with just 89.1 yards per game. In recent weeks, they have been significantly worse than this number would even suggest – rushing for less than 50 yards in 5 of their last 7 games.

Steelers offense can’t compete with top NFL teams

All this is to say that the Steelers offense simply cannot compete with other ‘top’ NFL teams with the way things have been going. While all three of their past opponents possessed solid defenses, good offenses and great quarterbacks must be able to overcome. Patrick Mahomes, for example, overcame a 3-interception game against the Dolphins and bounced back in the second half to put up a total of 33 points against one of the league’s toughest defenses.

However, when the Steelers offense is down, it has a really hard time getting back on its feet, as Roethlisberger lacks the downfield passing and playmaking ability to carry the game on his shoulders and fight back in it by making routine plays. Some of the best offenses in the league have more than doubled Pittsburgh scoring output over the last three weeks – leaving Pittsburgh in the dust:

While they should still be considered one of the better teams in the league, it’s very hard to believe they would be favored against any of the teams listed above if they were to play each other today.

Clearly, the Steelers must make improvements if they don’t want to be one-and-done in the playoffs this year, at it needs to start with Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh’s offense. If they can rebound before the end of the season, they will have a shot to be considered among the best teams in the league again going into the playoffs. If not, our expectations will be pretty low in January.