Through two games, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense was averaging below 300 yards per game, and was fifth-lowest in the NFL this season. That average will improve slightly following Week 3’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, where the Steelers had a season-best 342 yards to eclipse the prior best of 331 from Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
It will still remain among the lower averages in the NFL this season, and never got to full speed in Week 3, which ended in a 24-10 win for the Bengals. Penalties played a part in the loss, with the Steelers committing their most in a full year. But overall things just never hit the highest gears, a similar outcome from each of the team’s prior games. It’s a slow start under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, but the team isn’t really to pull the ripcord after just three games and a 1-2 record.
“We believe in each other, we believe in what we’re doing. We’re not going to quit on it,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We’re not going to quit on each other. That’s what, we’ll see when we come in tomorrow, I want to look guys in the eye and make sure that no one else is quitting. I don’t believe there will be any, won’t get quit from me or the coaching staff.”
Despite any hiccups, Roethlisberger topped 300 yards for the first time this season with 318. Chase Claypool (nine catches, 96 yards) and rookie running back Najee Harris (14 catches, 102 yards) set season-bests in receiving, the latter representing the first 100-yard game of his young NFL career.
But that is part of a worrying trend for the latter, in that it came through the air and not on the ground. Harris has yet to eclipse 45 rushing yards in any game so far this season, largely in part due to an offensive line that also allowed four sacks of Roethlisberger on Sunday, and had every starter commit at least one penalty.
Also committing two penalties was receiver Chase Claypool, both of them offensive pass interference calls. Part of an overall trend that had Pittsburgh at 10 total penalties, Roethlisberger was displeased with the calls — both in terms of the overall number of flags handed down, but that some were handed down at all, specifically on Claypool.
“We had a lot of penalties. We had some things that I think we probably need some clarification on in terms of rules” Roethlisberger said. “When a guy’s pressed on a receiver, you’re supposed to be able to block them right away. So we gotta get some clarification on some things. And there were some killer plays out there today.”
The team’s offense isn’t a finished product, yet. In execution or in limiting mistakes and penalty flags. Week 3’s loss served as a teaching moment to the group, one that can help the team polish some of the weakest areas ahead of a very tough Week 3 road game at the Green Bay Packers.