The red zone scoring problems that plagued the Pittsburgh Steelers offense nearly a month ago seem to be fixed.
In the Steelers last three games the offense has managed to score touchdowns on 10 of 12 trips inside their opponents’ red zone and that was capped Sunday night by a three-for-three performance against the Baltimore Ravens, who entered Week 9 with the second-best red zone defense in the league.
“The thing that defines the Ravens is their red zone defense,” said head coach Mike Tomlin on the Friday before the game. “They’re No. 2 in the league in red zone defense, and that keeps the points down, which makes them tough to beat. When the field gets short and you’re packed in, they’re really good at what they do. They understand how people attack them in that area, and they rise up against it well. We’re going to be challenged offensively in the red zone, as we were in Baltimore in Week 2.”
All three of the Steelers red zone touchdowns Sunday night were passes with two of them going to rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who now has five career touchdown receptions in his first three games played.
In fact, all 10 of the Steelers red zone scores in the last three games have been passes and one would think that’s sure to open up the running game inside the 20-yard-line as the season progresses, as teams won’t be able to load up the box as they did earlier in the season.
According to ESPN.com, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 35-of-53 (66%) passing inside the red zone so far this season with 19 touchdowns and just one interception.
“What I liked about our offense is that we continued fighting and obviously as the game wore on we were able to score touchdowns,” Tomlin said during his post game press conference. “They were the number-two red zone defense in football. To get down there and be able to put touchdowns on the board, I thought that was significant and it allowed us to win in the manner in which we did.”
Hopefully that manner continues on for the 6-3 Steelers.