2020 South Side Questions: Will Any Steeler Finish Season With 1000+ Receiving Yards?

Johnson, Smith-Schuster, Washington

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will any Steeler finish the season with 100-plus receiving yards?

On the season, after his 333-yard passing game, Ben Roethlisberger is now just slightly ahead of the pace to put him over 4000 passing yards for the 2020 season if he continues to put up the same per-game average that he has through nine games.

That’s no longer all that much by today’s standards, but nevertheless is a significant amount—but doesn’t necessarily translate to big individual numbers, as the Steelers’ receivers are seeing. Largely by virtue of the fact that they do have a number of options, we are not seeing a ton of separating from the pack.

Through nine games, they have five different players who have at least 20 catches, 200 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. They just had their first two receivers cross the 500-yard mark on the season, those being JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie Chase Claypool, while Diontae Johnson is beginning to gain ground in recent weeks after missing most of three games.

If you take their current raw numbers, however, nobody is currently on-pace to reach 1000 receiving yards on the season. In fact, Smith-Schuster, who now leads the offense with 516 yards, is coincidentally on-pace to have the exact same total as his rookie season, which was a record: 917 yards.

Of course, it’s always possible for them to pick up the pace. Smith-Schuster would have to average 70 yards per game. Claypool would have to average 72. Johnson, who just had his first 100-yard game, would need exactly 82 yards per game over the final seven games to hit 1000. One big game for any of them could really boost their odds, but at the same time, they’ll be competing against one another for those numbers.

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