The 2017 regular season began with quite a bit of justified hand-wringing over the lack of production on the offensive side of the ball. For a vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers that once boasted its ambitions of averaging 30 points per game, they failed to hit that mark even once in their first nine games.
Fortunately, things have improved since then, and in fact they have surpassed the 30-point threshold in four of the past six games. Coming off a 34-point showing, they have averaged 31.8 points per game in that span. Even including an ugly 20-point game, they have managed to average 30.1 points per game after averaging only 20.9 points per game prior to the bye week.
All of this has really helped to salvage their season—posting a 6-1 record since the bye—and has them on the verge of eclipsing the 400-point mark for the third time in the past four seasons. And they missed the mark by just one point a year ago.
The 2014 and 2015 seasons represent their highest scoring totals in team history. They scored 436 points in 2014, averaging 27.3 points per game. They scored 423 points a year later, averaging 26.4 points per game. Averaging 24.9 points per game a year ago, they came in at 399 points on the season.
At the moment, Pittsburgh is averaging 25.2 points per game, having scored 378 points on the season. If Landry Jones and the reserves can put up 22 points against a Cleveland Browns defense that is allowing 25.5 points per game, they would hit 400 points, and set the fifth-highest scoring total in their history.
The Steelers only eclipsed 400 points—or 399 points—twice prior to the 2014 season. In 1995, the year they reached the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1970s, they hit 407 points. The Steelers would need to score 30 points to pass that mark.
All the way back in 1979, in the last of their four Super Bowl seasons of the dynasty era, the team put up 416 points, averaging 26 points per game. But in 1975, during the era of the 14-game season, they actually averaged 26.6 points per game, which remains the second-best per-game mark in team history being the 2014 season. A far cry from the 6.1 points per game they averaged in 1933.
It was the defense that was dominating early in the season. If I recall correctly, they at one point owned the first- or second-ranked defense based on points allowed, while the offense was lagging behind. The balance has largely flipped in the opposite direction since then, though they are coming off a 34-6 game.
Chances are the Steelers’ offense will have to continue to put up solid numbers—though perhaps not 30 points per game—in order to go far into the playoffs. And the good thing is that the offense has been looking much more like it should as we get closer to the postseason.