With the 2022 season in the rearview mirror, we’ll revisit our weekly offensive charting and pull out the numbers on the season. Going through the full season and sharing any numbers that stand out or might seem interesting.
The offense was on the field for 1,183 offensive plays. That is 69.6 plays per game. That includes kneel downs and plays negated by penalty. In 2021, the team was on the field for 1,271 plays. That included one extra game and averaged 70.6 plays per game.
They finished the season with 477 runs (28.0 per game) and 684 passing plays (40.2 passes per game). Over the first 8 games, there were 177 running plays and 359 passing plays that include all attempts, sacks, scrambles and spikes. That is 22.1 runs per game and 44.6 passing plays per game. After the bye week, rushing attempts went up to 33.3 per game and pass attempts went down to 36.1 per game.
There was an obvious shift in offensive philosophy following the bye week. They wanted to run the ball more and that meant more multiple tight end looks and fewer three-receiver sets.
|Personnel||Before Bye||Per Game %||After Bye||Per game %||Change|
With new signal callers in 2022 there was an expectation that the offense may look different. Let’s take a look at how the offense looked with Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky.
- Play action plays in 2021 – 143. In 2022, there were 120.
- Facing a blitz in 2021 – 166. In 2022, there were 146.
- No Huddle in 2021 – 199. In 2022, that number is up to 128.
- Pre-snap movement of any kind in 2021 – 429. In 2022, that number is up a little to 577.
- Man in motion at the snap in 2021 – 163. In 2022, a little less at 234.
No surprise here if you watched the games. The pre-snap movement went from 23.8 per game to 33.9 per game. Having a player in motion at the snap also increased from 9.1 per game to 13.8 per game.
|Pickett||7 – 5||63.0||2,404||4.70||7||9|
|Trubisky||2 – 3||65.0||1,252||5.44||4||5|
|Team Totals||9 – 8||63.7||3,661||4.96||12||14|
On a per-game basis, Pickett (about 11.5 games due to leaving the game early) averaged 209 yards per game. Trubisky (about 6 games based on play) averaged 208.7 yards per game.
Pickett added 237 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns and Trubisky added 38 yards and another two scores.
Pickett was sacked 27 times for 182 yards. The majority of those sacks were in the first 10 games with just nine coming from Week 11 on and just four in the last four weeks. Trubisky was sacked 11 times for 68 yards.
Where Do They Throw It?
Here is a look at the location of the ball based on the width of the field.
|Location||Pickett (pre-bye)||Pickett (post-bye)||Trubisky (pre-bye)||Trubisky (post-bye)|
|Outside Left Numbers||58||71||39||18|
|Left Numbers to Left Hash||28||36||20||9|
|Right Hash to Right Numbers||36||40||21||8|
|Outside right Numbers||46||71||42||16|
This year’s quarterbacks are pretty similar in where they throw it. Pickett threw the ball outside the numbers 60.4% of the time and Trubisky at 63.5%. Pickett did improve his number right up the middle in the second half of the year.
Now here is a look based on depth.
|Direction||Pickett (pre-bye)||Pickett (post-bye)||Trubisky (pre-bye)||Pickett (post-bye)|
A deep pass is anything thrown 16 or more yards downfield.
There was an added focus to the right side of the field for Pickett after the bye. Deep shots increased from 6 to 15 as well as increased to the short middle and short right areas.
A retooled offensive line gave us hope of an improved running game this season. It really wasn’t evident in the first half of the season but after the bye the commitment and improvement was there.
Najee Harris is a fully capable three-down back. The foot issues he dealt with earlier in the season subsided and he became a more decisive runner and the production show.
Jaylen Warren may have been the biggest surprise of the year. The undrafted free agent produced almost 600 yards of total offense while being a trusted pass protector.
Derek Watt even found a role in the offense being a short-yardage runner. He produced 8 first downs on 9 carries. He also scored multiple touchdowns for the first time in his career as well.
In the second half of the season, it looked like the left side of the offensive line was getting a good push to aid the running game. Looking at the numbers and that was true. The numbers actually went up per carry in five of seven angles.
|Pre Bye Weeks 1-8||Post Bye Weeks 10-18|
Diontae Johnson had an unusual season leading the team in targets, yards and receptions but didn’t score a touchdown.
Johnson has played 90% of the snaps followed by George Pickens at 76%. After Chase Claypool was traded a triad of players filled in at the receiver spot. Steven Sims played 34%, Gunner Olszewski 20% and Myles Boykin with just 12%.
It was basically a two-receiver offense in the second half of the year. Here is a look at where they were targeted in the second half.
Johnson had 8 games with double-digit targets but just three in the second half of the season. He topped 80 yards three times on the season with two in the last five games.
Pickens leads the wide receivers with 15.4 yards per reception, 9.5 yards per target and has the longest reception by a WR at 42 yards. He also led the team in touchdown receptions with four.
The Steelers use their wide receivers as runners more than anyone in the league with 39 carries for 213 yards (5.46 ypc). Sims led the way with 13 carries for 70 yards and Pickens had the lone WR rushing touchdown.
Pat Freiermuth was a key cog in the offense setting career highs in targets, receptions, yards and yards per reception. He was also consistent from the first half of the season to the second half.
Freiermuth led the tight ends playing 68% of the snaps. He also had the team’s longest reception of the season at 57 yards.
Zach Gentry was up to 50% of the plays an increase of 10% from last year. Heyward played just 64 snaps in before the bye and that increased to 110 snaps after the bye as he became more involved in the offense.
Zach Gentry had 13 targets, 12 receptions and 92 yards through half the year. However, his opportunities trailed off a bit in the second half with 10 targets, 7 receptions 59 yards.
Rookie Connor Heyward caught 5 of 6 targets for 67 yards prior to the bye week. In the second half, he had 7 receptions on 11 targets for 84 yards including his first touchdown. He led the tight ends with 12.6 yards per reception. He also carried the ball twice for 27 yards both of which moved the chains.
Yes, they were maligned in the first half of the season. The second half was a different story. They gelled together nicely and really played like a complete unit. They also all started every game. That is a feat in itself. Here are the snap counts for the year.
Kendrick Green and Jesse Davis have not played a snap on offense.
Penalties have been an issue for this team.
- Moore has 10 total penalties with 5 holding calls (one declined), 4 false starts and 1 illegal formation
- Dotson has 11 total with 4 holds, 4 false starts and 3 ineligible downfield
- Cole had 2 illegal use of hands penalties called against him; both declined
- Daniels has 3 total with 3 ineligible downfield (1 declined) , 1 hold (declined) and 1 unnecessary roughness
- Okorafor has 1 each of ineligible downfield, illegal use of hands (declined), illegal formation and holding
Overall, there were lots of good signs for the overall offense. The line played well in the second half. The rookies provided a lot of intrigue going into next season. This is a young offense and the potential is there. On to 2023.