It’s been four weeks and and the next Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver to catch a touchdown will be the first of 2022. Through four games, the Steelers have only thrown two touchdown passes, tied with the Chicago Bears for the fewest in football. Those two scores have gone to TE Pat Freiermuth and RB Najee Harris. So far, the receivers are waiting their turn.
To put that in perspective, it’s the Steelers’ longest drought to open the year since 2000 when it took until the team’s fifth game for a wideout to find the end zone, Bobby Shaw of all people catching a ten yard pass from Kordell Stewart to beat the Jets.
If Pittsburgh’s streak lasts another week, five games, it’ll mark their longest drought since 1990 when it took six games, Louis Lipps finally ending things.
Pittsburgh’s wide receiver certainly seems talented. On paper, at least, it looked like one of the strengths of the team. But middling quarterback play coupled with the room’s own problems, Chase Claypool not playing to his size, Diontae Johnson a bit up-and-down, the offense taking too long to feature George Pickens, leaves them searching for their first touchdown of the season.
At least Diontae Johnson caught a two-point conversion.
The weird silver lining is that Pittsburgh has been solid in the red zone this season. They enter Week 5 with the sixth-best red zone offense in football, scoring two-thirds of the time. Of course, the number of overall chances they’ve had is another matter but the team has run the ball into the end zone instead of throwing it, highlighted by Kenny Pickett’s two rushing scores Sunday, a NFL-first for a QB making his debut.
In general, throwing touchdown passes this season has been a chore. As we wrote, just two this season. That’s the fewest Pittsburgh’s thrown in a season since 2001 when Kordell Stewart managed just one. 2000-2001 certainly feels like where this current offense has regressed to.
All of this is quirky and none of it has been surprising. The Steelers’ offense has been slogging tis way through the first month, averaging less than 20 points per game. The move to Kenny Pickett is the start of a new era and things could change. A Steelers’ receiver will catch a touchdown this year, I promise you that. It’s just been one heck of a wait.