Is the Pittsburgh Steelers Offense Too Predictable?


Sep 26, 2023

The Pittsburgh Steelers emerged victorious on Sunday night, but it was a victory that left many questions unanswered. The offense’s struggles remain glaring, even as Kenny Pickett managed to connect for two touchdown passes. For die-hard Steelers fans, the inconsistency and predictability of the offensive play-calling are not only frustrating but also concerning for the NFL season ahead.

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One of the main critiques has been the offense’s predictability. Most of the time, you can foresee the Steelers’ next move. According to analysts who’ve had the privilege of studying the all-22 film and drawing insights from their time in the league, the Steelers’ offensive play-calling has a predictable pattern. When under center, they’re likely handing off. If they’re in shotgun, expect a throw. This level of predictability requires flawless execution, something hard to find in a team just three games into the season.

Our Statistics wizard, Warren Sharp, in his conversation with SportsGrid’s Scottie Ferrell, highlighted a worrying trend. A staggering 85+% of the time Pickett is under center, they opt to run. Similarly, when he’s in shotgun, they opt to throw more than 85+% of the time. Such transparency in play-calling is a gift to opposing defenses.

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Yet, despite these glaring offensive issues, there’s a silver lining. The Steelers are sitting pretty at 2-1. The defense, undoubtedly one of the NFL’s elite units, has been their savior. They head to Houston next, where they’ll face CJ Stroud, a promising talent for the Texans. However, this might be Stroud’s toughest test yet, especially with TJ Watt on the prowl.

Even amidst their offensive woes, the Steelers have a golden opportunity to progress to 3-1. However, they’d be wise to remember that taking things for granted in the NFL can be catastrophic. Just ask the Cowboys after their shock defeat to the Cardinals. For the Steelers, the game in Houston demands their utmost focus and execution, reminiscent of their performance on Sunday night.

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Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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