With the bye and the midway point of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season, we’ll revisit our weekly offensive charting and pull out the numbers on the season. Going through the first eight games and share any numbers that stand out or might seem interesting.
Through eight games the offense has been on the field for 545 offensive plays. That includes kneel downs and plays negated by penalty. In 2021, through eight games the team was on the field for 557 plays.
There have been 175 running plays and 357 passing plays that include all attempts, sacks, scrambles and spikes. In 2021, there were 195 running plays and 344 passing plays.
With the same offensive coordinator with different quarterbacks, how much will that affect the personnel?
|Personnel||2021||2022||Diff in 2022|
There is an uptick in 11 personnel which could be caused by playing from behind so much. The usage of multiple tight ends is down in all groupings (12, 13, 22 and 23). It’ll be interesting to see how that changes in the second half of the season.
With new signal callers in 2022 there was a chance things could look different than last year. Let’s take a look.
- Play action plays in 2021 – 68. In 2022, there have been 63.
- Facing a blitz in 2021 – 58. In 2022, there have been 66.
- No Huddle in 2021 – 57. In 2022, that number is up to 90.
- Pre-snap movement of any kind in 2021 – 218. In 2022, that number is up a little to 230.
- Man in motion at the snap in 2021 – 83. In 2022, a little less at 74.
|Pickett||1 – 3||67.9||962||5.8||2||8|
|Trubisky||1 – 3||60.9||797||6.2||3||2|
|Totals||2 – 6||64.8||1,759||6||5||10|
For comparison, here are last year’s first eight games.
|Roethlisberger||5 – 3||65.2||1,986||6.64||10||4|
Pretty similar in completion percentage but that’s about it. There is a difference in mobility with Pickett having 98 yards on the ground. Roethlisberger hit that number or more for a full season seven times with the last time coming in 2018.
There were six more interceptions this season (10 to 4), nine more sacks (21 to 12) and 17 more scrambles (18 to 1).
Where Do They Throw It?
Here is a look at the location of the ball based on the width of the field.
|Outside Left Numbers||58||39|
|Left Numbers to Left Hash||28||20|
|Right Hash to Right Numbers||36||21|
|Outside Right Numbers||46||42|
This year’s quarterbacks are pretty similar in where they throw it with about 63% of their passes coming outside the numbers. That number is up from 51% in 2021.
Now here is a look based on depth.
|Direction||Pickett||Trubisky||2022 Totals||Roethlisberger||Diff in 2022|
A deep pass is anything thrown 16 or more yards downfield.
I was a bit surprised to see no difference in deep shots to the left and right. Plays to the deep middle have taken a big jump. Meanwhile the short passes have shifted from the left side of the offense to the right while staying away from the middle.
A retooled offensive line gave us hope of an improved running game this season. To this point that has not come to fruition.
Najee Harris is a fully capable three down back. He has dealt with some foot issues, blocking issues up front and too much dancing when he has the ball. All of that is evident in his numbers which are down across the board. His offensive snaps have dropped from 464 to 367. Overall, he played 84% of the snaps last year. So far he is at 69%.
Jaylen Warren took the number two job from Benny Snell and has made the most of the 165 snaps he has received so far. He is averaging 5.3 yards on 29 carries and 7.3 yards per reception.
Derek Watt is the only other running back who has touched the ball with 1 carry for 2 yards and 3 receptions for 7 yards and a touchdown. Watt has played 5% of the snaps in 2021 and has averaged 5-7% since coming to Pittsburgh. Prior to that, he was in the 12-15% range with the Chargers.
Snell has zero offensive snaps in 2022.
Diontae Johnson is the lead dog of the group. He gets open regularly and once again leads the team in targets. While his targets are similar the production is down with the new quarterbacks.
Johnson has played 92% of the snaps, followed by the now departed Chase Claypool at 86% and George Pickens at 78%.
* One fewer game in 2021
Johnson has five games with double digit targets but has yet to top 85 yards in a game or score a touchdown. A lot of that is based on his routes he has been asked to run.
Pickens leads the wide receivers with 13.0 yards per reception, 7.9 yards per target and has the longest reception by a WR at 36 yards.
No player other than Harris has more than 1 touchdown reception.
The Steelers use their wide receivers as runners more than anyone in the league with 19 carries for 112 yards (5.89 ypc).
Steven Sims, Miles Boykin and Gunner Olszewski have combined for 5 targets and three receptions for 10 yards.
Like Pickens this season, the Steelers were slow in getting Pat Freiermuth involved in the passing offense last season. Once they got him rolling he finished 2021 second in targets and touchdowns along with third in receptions and yards.
This season thus far he is again top three in all the key categories. He is second in receptions and in yards. He is third in targets and yards per reception.
Zach Gentry became a bigger part of the offense in the second half of last season and is on pace for career highs with 13 targets, 12 receptions and 92 yards through half the year.
Gentry leads all receivers with at least ten targets in catch percentage (92.3%).
Rookie Connor Heyward has seen limited action with just 64 offensive snap but has caught 5 of 6 targets for 67 yards.
Freiermuth has played 324 snaps (69%) and Gentry 254 snaps (48%).
Heyward has the longest reception of the season of any player (45 yards).
Freiermuth, Gentry and Heyward all have a longer reception than Johnson or Claypool.
Yes they have been maligned in the first half of the season. On the bright side they have been healthy. The starting five has spent a lot of time together. Four of the five starters have played every snap
Kendrick Green and Jesse Davis have not played a snap on offense.
Penalties have been an issue for this team.
- Moore has six total penalties with three false starts
- Dotson has seven total with three holding penalties
- Daniels has three total with two ineligible downfield
- Okorafor has three total with one hold
- Cole has not been called for a penalty