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Diontae Johnson Still Searching For First TD Of The Season: ‘Longest I’ve Gone Without Scoring’

Diontae Johnson has a bunch of receptions. But he’s yet to put one in the end zone. With just four weeks left in the season, he knows time is running out. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Johnson is acutely aware of the drought he’s playing through. 

“I’m trying,” Johnson said via Steelers.com. “Usually every week I’m trying to get in the box. This is the longest I ever been without scoring.”

On the season, Johnson has 67 receptions for 647 yards along with zero touchdowns. Ugly numbers across the board, still averaging under ten yards per reception and no catches that put points on the board. But the goose egg in that “TD” column looms large.

It could also make history. As we’ve been tracking the past few weeks, Johnson is closing in on the NFL record of most receptions without a touchdown. The current record holder over the course of an entire season is 75 set by Hall of Famer Raymond Berry in 1961 for the Baltimore Colts, catching 75 passes for 873 yards and zero touchdowns that season, one year removed from a ten-score campaign. That doesn’t include any potential players who caught more and then finally broke the streak sometime later in the season, say a player who had gone 81 receptions without a touchdown before scoring, but Johnson is on pace to finish the year with well more than 75 grabs. Meaning, if he doesn’t hit the end zone this year, he’s almost certain to set the NFL record.

Johnson’s had his chances to score this season including in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore with a goal line target that fell incomplete. Earlier in the year against the Indianapolis Colts, as shown in the above header photo, he dropped a would-be touchdown on a great throw by QB Kenny Pickett in the back left corner.

While Johnson has it worst, his teammates aren’t faring much better. Pittsburgh’s thrown a league-low nine touchdown passes this season and only three have gone to wide receivers this season. Two by George Pickens, only by the now-traded Chase Claypool. The rest have gone to an assortment of tight ends and running backs. Two by Najee Harris, two by Pat Freiermuth, one by Derek Watt, and one by Connor Heyward.

While the numbers is weighing on Johnson’s mind, he still enters this week with a team-first attitude.

“I’m just gonna continue to help to be that team player and just help everyone else around me. And then some touchdowns are going to come.”

No matter what happens these next four weeks, 2022 will be a season Johnson will want to forget. But if he can’t hit the end zone, it’ll be a historic one, for all the wrong reasons, and one Johnson is going to remember.

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