The Steelers offense continues to fail at adding points on the board and that sunk them in Week 7. Here are my positional grades this week.
The Steelers hope of rectifying their season after their Buccaneers upset was all sent tumbling downhill after this week. Their loss against the Miami Dolphins might have been the final nail in the coffin for this clubs’ chances of trying to claw their way back into playoff contention this year. This contest brought mixed results, which could have led to Pittsburgh winning the game if they made the right plays.
Pickett had an up-and-down game for a rookie quarterback
Kenny Pickett was back for his second start in the NFL after being pulled the previous game because of concussion-like symptoms. The fact that he suited up for this matchup should get some scrutiny — especially with the NFL’s most recent debacle with Tua Tagovailoa. Nonetheless, Pickett has some good times and some disastrous moments in this one.
Another three-interception night was the result for Pickett, with one of those occurring after Chase Claypool got his feet tangled. That was not the rookie’s fault, and he made some quality plays as well via his arm and feet. He got them down the field to try and get the go-ahead touchdown only to make a costly interception to seal the loss.
Najee Harris was able to take advantage of some run blocking
Finally, the offensive line was able to make some blocks in the run game to give Najee Harris and company a shot at getting yards. Harris did not have an overly amazing outing, but he did show some powerful runs that caught some eyes. Hopefully, this is a precursor of the running game making a comeback to help alleviate some of Pickett’s pressure.
Something still seems amiss with Harris this season. It is hard to pinpoint if he is still injured or if his lack of trust in the offensive line is slowing him down. Either way, he needs to figure out some way to continue his upward trajectory during this game and continue moving forward.
The Steelers receivers had a mixed day of results against Miami
George Pickens continues to do good things when he is targeted, which is not as often as he should be. The rookie out of Georgia is the best receiver that the offense has currently, and he deserves more targets. Diontae Johnson did not have a great day and Chase Claypool took a step back from last week before voicing his frustrations after the game.
Nothing special was produced by this group besides Pickens’s lone touchdown grab. They have been widely inconsistent as a collective throughout the season, and that will not help this offense get out of its haze. Dark days are here, and the only way out is improving on their selves and forcing their way out of the dark pit of despair that they are currently in.
Pat Freiermuth had a big game after returning from injury
A big target was missing for the Steelers offense, but he returned during this contest against the Miami Dolphins. Pat Freiermuth returned after missing a couple of games due to a concussion, and his return was a sight for sore eyes. The tight end was able to lead the team in receptions and create some plays to set up a chance to win the game.
No touchdowns or significant contributions from the other tight ends on the club sunk the positions’ grade some. Freiermuth is a reliable playmaker for his size and creates mismatches over the middle of the field. Expect for more targets to go his way for the remainder of the year as his success should improve.
The offensive line showed some improvements in some areas
Kevin Dotson had a good game overall, and so did James Daniels as both are starting to put things together as a duo at guard. The rest of them had up-and-down games as they showed improvement in the run-blocking department but faltered in other areas. The pass blocking took a step back after being consistent in that area of play to this point.
No matter how you slice their performance, it had some good things and some bad things. The run blocking showed some improvements this week, but it was still nothing special. The biggest issue that caused them to fall apart was the amount of pressure they allowed toward Pickett with two sacks and six quarterback hits by the Dolphins.
Steelers overall offensive grade: D
There were some positive things to take away from this game even though the Steelers offense continues to neglect adding points on the board. Pickett was able to battle and almost get this team to a win despite some costly turnovers. He looks like he might be able to have a short memory going forward and that is an attribute that you cannot teach.
A long and windy road is still laying in front of this club with a lot of situations working against them. Pittsburgh’s offense will have a lot more disappointments before it shows any signs of improvement, especially with Matt Canada making the calls. This young group of playmakers has shown that they can do things even with the worst offensive coordinator making the decisions.
The Steelers offense was only able to apply ten points to the scoreboard when the clock struck zero. Matt Canada is a catalyst for this weekly failure and there seems to be no fix in sight.