The Pittsburgh Steelers played on the road during four of their first six games, and they only exceeded 10 points on offense once in that span, when they managed to put up 30 points against the Carolina Panthers.
It’s fortunately been another story when the Steelers get to play at Heinz Field, as they are averaging 28 points per game in three games now with home field advantage.
The offense was able to put up 30 points in two of those three games, each ending in a victory. Despite the fact that they scored 24 points in the other game, the defense—and early offensive struggles—allowed the Buccaneers to put up 27.
But the fact that the offense has been able to be successful at home is a good sign, even as worrying as their road struggles might be. The Steelers, after all, are still 2-2 on the road despite their inability to score points away from Pittsburgh.
Scoring at home means that they do have a formula that works for them. it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get the show on the road.
Of course, the offense was aided greatly by defensive takeaways against the Houston Texans last night, scoring 17 points off of three turnovers, which included two drives starting with goal-to-go. That’s one way to improve your red zone offense.
There is a concern, however, that so much of their production has been centered around the first half. In those three games, the Steelers have scored 77 points, and out of that total, 61 points came before halftime.
In the season opener against the Browns, Pittsburgh exploded in the second half en route to jumping out to a 27-3 halftime lead. It took a field goal as time expired to eke out a very relieving 30-27 victory.
Later in the season against the Buccaneers, the Steelers scored 17 points in the first half after falling behind 10-0 almost immediately and having to dig themselves out of a hole. They only added a touchdown in the second half while Tampa Bay scored 17, leaving the Steelers with an agonizing 27-24 defeat.
And even last night, courtesy of a furious, turnover-fueled late first-half rally, the Steelers managed to jump out to a 24-3 halftime lead, with all of those points coming in about the last three minutes of the second quarter. They added only two field goals in the second half.
Though they still won the game by seven points, the second-half dearth is another worrying sign for an offense that increasingly must carry the load in order for this team to win games. The only game in which they scored double-digit points in the second half was against the Panthers, and if they can’t learn to close, they’d going to have trouble stacking wins for the rest of the season.