Grading the Steelers sparked offense vs Jets in Week 4 loss

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 02: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 02: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Steelers offense got a spark and actually showed massive signs of improvement during their loss on Sunday. 

Pittsburgh hosted the Jets at Acrisure stadium on Sunday and was able to show some signs of life on offense. Mitch Trubisky started the game for the Steelers, but he was benched after only providing a total of six points in the first half. Three of those points were handed to the black and gold from a bonehead penalty by the Jets which set up a record-breaking Chris Boswell field goal.

Things seemed bleak for this offense much like how things were going up to this point. The running game showed some strong things and this unit started to look nearly explosive when Kenny Pickett came in and made his NFL debut for the Steelers. He gave this team a chance to win even though he turned the ball over, he made things interesting.

It was a story of two halves for the Steelers at quarterback

Trubisky is the main reason for this grade not being higher as he still failed to do a whole lot. He was stale and made bad throws that resulted in continuous drives that failed to muster anything. He was only directly responsible for three points in the first half, it is shocking to understand how he did not see the writing on the wall for his ticking clock quickly fading away.

Grade: C+

Kenny Pickett lit a spark into this offense that catapulted into a ten-point lead, which did dwindle away into a loss. He was able to move the ball downfield and create something fun to watch. The rookie did make a couple of mistakes which did help aid in the losing effort, but he was the main reason this offense showed some signs of hope.

Both running backs were able to have promising days on the ground

The running game for Pittsburgh continues to show signs of improvement since the beginning of the season showed concerns of failure. Both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren rushed for over four yards on average per carry. That is a good start to run the ball down the other team’s throat as both backs have begun to show a nice complimentary effort.

Grade: B-

Nothing special happened for either Harris or Warren in this game. The run blocking has shown steady signs of improvement each week. Neither did anything spectacular in this game, but they have been able to show steady progress in establishing a run game that could make life easier on the quarterback.

George Pickens shined while others missed some catches

Finally, the Steelers were able to get George Pickens involved on offense. It needed to be accomplished and the team finally did that, which resulted in his first 100 yard performance. The rest of the receiving group was rather quiet throughout the game and struggled to make plays during their matchups.

Grade: C+

This was a hard grade to hand out after Pickens played so well. The issue was a Diontae Johnson missed a catch that led to an interception. Chase Claypool fails to make contested catches and that helped aid in an interception off Pickett. It was not a great day collectively by this group of receivers, but Pickens did show that he can be that number one guy.

Pat Freiermuth started to get some targets in the middle of the field

The Steelers offense has struggled to get their tight ends involved in their game plan. Much like the Pickens issue, Pat Freiermuth has not been targeted a whole bunch in the middle of the field. That is a consistent issue that Matt Canada and Trubisky seemed to agree could not be fixed for some rhyme or reason.

Grade: B

Besides the terrible luck that struck Freiermuth at the end of the game that led to an interception, his game was nearly flawless against the Jets. That interception was Pickett’s fault and showed his rookie experience rear its ugly head. This tight end is a mismatch in the middle and should be able to continue to become a safety blanket for the quarterback.

The offensive line continues to impress in the trenches thus far

It is truly amazing how far the offensive line has come since the pre-season. Many thought they would be the worst part of this offense, but they have been one of the best for this group. They have been able to clean up well and continue to congeal as a group to protect the passer and block for Harris.

Grade: B-

Nothing entirely special from this line as the running backs did not combine for 100 yards rushing or more. They did a decent job of keeping the pocket clean, even though some mishaps did occur. This offensive line is not going to be the best in the NFL anytime soon, but they have been able to form into something many did not expect.

Steelers overall offensive grade: C+

It was truly two different stories for this offensive unit. The black and gold played completely differently in the first half than they did behind Pickett in the second. Trubisky’s led offense would have probably garnered a grade of D- or worse if the coaching staff stuck with him during the entire 60 minutes.

The hometown product was able to come onto the field and provide enough spark to get this team a lead. The game might have ended in heartbreak, but it gave this fanbase some hope for the offense moving forward. If Pickett can learn from his mistakes, he could lead a high-flying offense onto the field soon.

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The Steelers offense was able to come out in the second half and give this team a chance to win the game. It was a disappointing loss that was truly a tale of two halves for this football club.