The Good: Pittsbugh's Offense Looked Better With a Long Way to Go Still
Statistically, it sure doesn't look like much has changed. Truthfully, not much really has. Pittsburgh came out more confident and energetic to start the game, but it didn't necessarily translate to concrete results in the first half.
There were, however, incremental improvements that do deserve acknowledgement.
Kenny Pickett's stat box was pedestrian at best. He clearly was happy to have Diontae Johnson back at his disposal, though he wasn't able to make sufficient use of his most experienced weapon early. To tack on to the negatives, Pickett struggled to identify pre-snap pressures which killed many first-half drives.
Both of those things changed late in the second half for the second-year quarterback, showing some perseverance in the offense as a whole.
Another aspect of Pickett's performance that's worth respecting is his pocket management as he climbed the pocket more consistently. Still work to be done here, but he kept more plays alive than his patently ill-advised spin out to his blindside.
The rushing attack also looked better. Najee Harris ran a tick more violently early and was elusive in the open field when presented with opportunities. Jaylen Warren was his usual self when called upon as well. It wasn't the same emphatic burst out of the off week as last year, but it was a recognizable shift in the right direction.
A 59-yard touchdown drive followed by an 80-yard touchdown drive proved that things are coming together.
The offense still has a long way to go, make no mistake. Executing Matt Canada's offense at a high level will never deliver sensational results. In fact, perfect execution is barely enough to get a win in this league with that playbook and playcalling. But the effort was easy to see, and that's to be respected at the very least.