The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their defense, but it was the offense that carried them against the Bengals in the first half of Week 11.
Everyone and their mother knew that if the Pittsburgh Steelers were to have any chance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11, it was going to take a dominant defensive performance. Sadly, that’s not what we saw through two quarters of play.
Though Pittsburgh’s defense did intercep quarterback Joe Burrow just before halftime, they ultimately surrendered 9.7 yards per pass attempt and over 200 yards in the first half. This was accompanied by 17 first-half points surrendered.
The good news it that Pittsburgh’s offense rose to the challenge. In the first half, Kenny Pickett commanded the offense — completing 14 of 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, via ESPN stats. This was good for 7.4 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 111.9. These numbers could have been even more impressive if Pickett had been able to connect on a few missed opportunities over the middle of the football field that could have gone for sizeable gains.
In addition to the passing game working for seemingly the first time this season, Najee Harris was chewing up yardage on the ground. The second-year running back recorded 11 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown in the first half. This came without Jaylen Warren being able to spell him of snaps, as the undrafted running back left the game very early with a hamstring injury.
Steelers offense must keep up the pace
It isn’t reasonable to expert the Pittsburgh Steelers to start having 40-point games after being a bottom-ranked offense all season, but signs are encouraging that they could be taking a big step in the right direction.
Through the first ten weeks of the 2022 season, Pittsburgh hasn’t scored more than 20 offensive points in an entire game. At halftime against the Cincinnati Bengals, they had 20. This is extremely encouraging.
It will be interesting to see if they can keep up the pace. While the defense isn’t playing up to the standard, fans have to be thrilled with what we are seeing from the offense. This is uncharted territory, and I’m loving it.