After what we witnessed in Week 3 against the Raiders, we want to believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is better. And in some ways, it is. Kenny Pickett was able to bounce back for one of the strongest performances of his career -- setting three personal bests in the process. However, the Steelers are still nowhere near where they need to be.
While things certainly improved in Week 3 on Sunday Night Football, it wasn't the dominant offensive performance we all were hoping for. Early in the game, Pickett was fortunate to have an easy pick-six dropped by Raiders cornerback Marcus Peters, and the running game still couldn't find any room on the ground despite playing against a spectacular defense.
Worst of all is that Pittsburgh's offensive line was still bullied despite Maxx Crosby being the only respected player on the front seven that they needed to account for. The collection of these things led the Steelers to just 23 offensive points -- the most they've had in a season this year, but still nothing to write home about.
If you take away the two defensive scores by T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, the Steelers are averaging just 14.0 points per game on offense. But as ugly as this stat is, there's one advanced statistic that's even more cringeworthy for Pittsburgh entering Week 4.
Steelers are terrible when it comes to EPA
Currently, the Steelers are 30th in EPA (Expected Points Added), per rbsdm.com. This is a great measure used to see which teams are truly dominating and which teams are performing poorly. As you can imagine, the Miami Dolphins top the league in EPA by a sizeable margin after putting up a whopping 70 points against the Broncos in Week 3. The next two teams on the list are the 49ers and the Bills (which makes sense).
Sadly, the Steelers sit below teams like the Titans, Giants, and Commanders. Pittsburgh's EPA per play of -0.202 is just fractions away from being the worst in the league. They are currently only ahead of two abysmal offenses of the Bears and the Jets.
EPA is a very telling metric, and it shows just how far away the Pittsburgh Steelers offense currently is from the top teams in the league. Until they make drastic improvements, it's hard to view them as a legitimate threat to opposing teams this year.
Matt Canada isn't to blame for everything. Sure, this team tips their hat to what the play will be far too often and opposing teams should be able to guess whether it's a run or pass based on their personnel grouping and formations. However, the execution (particularly from the offensive line) has simply not been there through three games.
The tough schedule early on against the 49ers and Browns didn't help. This could very well turn out to be two of the top defenses in the National Football League this year. Additionally, the game against the Raiders in Week 3 was a step in the right direction, but there's far more work that needs to be done.
Pittsburgh needs to get out of the gutter and start stringing together some dominant offensive performances in 2023. As good as their defense can be this year, they won't stand a chance if they make it to the postseason and their offense is still this bad.
The schedule gets a bit easier now before a tough stretch late in the season. Let's hope Kenny Pickett and Matt Canada have something up their sleeve. The good news is that their most recent sample of play is their most encouraging. Let's hope they can continue to build on that moving forward.