Last Friday night, the Steelers kicked off the 2023 season with an impressive win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Steelers fans walked away from that game incredibly satisfied after watching the first-team offense come out and take care of business before entering the backups and depth players. Saturday night's electrifying win over one of the AFC's Superbowl favorites brought an even bigger smile to Steeler Nation.
The Steelers starting offense carried their momentum from last week's game right into the first drive of their matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Pittsburgh picked up two quick first downs on passes from Kenny Pickett and a pair of three-yard rushes from Najee Harris before blowing the game wide open with what was likely the play of the night from running back Jaylen Warren. The Steelers did not let up and sprinted to a 27-0 start before a couple of late touchdowns from the Buffalo Bills backups ended the night with a final score of 27-15.
1. The Steelers starters are ready for week one
In back-to-back weeks the Steelers' first-team offense has taken full advantage of their limited reps by putting together near-perfect drives each time they have stepped on the field. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has been as advertised in his first three drives of the preseason.
Pittsburgh's second-year leader has completed 9 of his 11 passes for 113 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, via ESPN stats. His touchdown pass in Saturday night's game was as surgical as it gets as Pickett completed a 25-yard pass to his trusty tight end Pat Freiermuth to up the Steelers' lead by two scores.
The Steelers offense appears to have made a complete 180 from last season, putting up multiple splash plays in both of their preseason exhibitions. In 2022, the Steelers offense was allergic to making splash plays and relied on short-yardage touchdowns to carry the offense. Their longest play from scrimmage was a 57-yard catch and run from Pat Freiermuth that ended in a score.
Just two games into this year, the Steelers have topped that number twice. Last week's 67-yard bomb from Mason Rudolph to Calvin Austin and Saturday night's 62-yard scamper from Jaylen Warren seems to hint at the Steelers offense being more explosive in 2023.
As solid as the offense has been, the starting defense has been equally impressive. The Buffalo Bills high-flying offense was sure to be their first real test of 2023, and they crushed it. Josh Allen and the Bills offense took the field on three of their first possessions before sitting the rest of the game. Pittsburgh's defense got after the Bills' superstar quarterback and caused fits for the Buffalo offense and allowed just 36 yards in those three drives, via ESPN stats.