It has been a long time since the Pittsburgh Steelers last did anything close to Thursday Night’s showing on the offensive side of the ball road, away from Heinz Field. The team has already played six games on the road, and in none of them did they put up even 30 points.
In fact, they only topped 21 points one time, in a 26-9 win over the Ravens in Baltimore. You would have to go all the way back to the 2016 regular season opener in Washington to find the last time the Steelers were able to take their high-scoring offensive potential on the road, beating the home team 38-16 in that game.
Of their 10 games on the road last season, including the playoffs, they were held to under 20 points half the time—in five of their 10 games—and under 25 points seven times. Aside from the opener, they also scored 27 and 28 during trips to Indianapolis and Buffalo.
The trend goes back further. They did score 30 or more points twice on the road in 2015, however. They scored 30 on the nose in a losing effort to the Seahawks, and beat the Bengals by 13 with their 33 points, thanks in part due to Cincinnati’s three turnovers.
But in 10 road games, they were held to under 20 points five times, and under 25 points seven times. They scored fewer than 20 in five of nine games in 2014, though they scored at least 27 points in the other four, including 37 and 42.
It stands to reason that offenses could have a harder time scoring points on the road than at home, but the frequency with which the team has been held to under even 20 points while away from Heinz Field, ostensibly while having one of the most talented offensive units in the league, is troubling to say the least.
Consider this fact: the Steelers have scored at least 30 points in a game 21 times over the course of the past four seasons. Only five of those games have come on the road. Their last six games in which they have scored at least 30 points have all come at Heinz Field.
This is just one of the many reasons that the team would love to be able to wield homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. In recent years, they have indeed been an elite scoring offense, but it has only come when they are at home. Their road struggles have prevented them from being in the same class as teams like the Patriots and Packers in that aspect.
This is not exactly a state secret or anything. We have been talking about the Steelers’ “road woes” for years now, even though they currently have won nine of their last 10 games on the road during the regular season, and 10 of their last 12 overall in the past two years.
But after cracking the 30-point barrier for the first time this season in a big way in only their fourth home game, it is something of a reminder of that fact. They are averaging 26 points per game at home, and 20.5 on the road.