In three preseason games, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ top offensive unit played five drives together and scored five touchdowns. Pittsburgh put up 35 points on only 28 plays, including converting on all five third-down attempts.
Can Kenny Pickett Build Off a Strong 2022 Finish?
Quarterback Kenny Pickett, who replaced longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger, finished the 2022 season on a high note. He led the Steelers to five wins in his last six starts. Pickett threw four touchdown passes with only one interception in the six games.
Pickett picked up this preseason right where he left off in 2022, completing 13 of his 15 passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
George Pickens (PIT) had just one touchdown on 6 receptions in the 4th quarter in the last 8 weeks of the regular season — tied for 10th-best among NFL WRs.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) August 24, 2023
Is Jaylen Warren Ready To Be an Impact Player?
Steelers backup RB Jaylen Warren averaged 4.9 per rush on 77 attempts with one touchdown last season, adding 28 catches for 214 yards. This preseason, Warren rushed for 89 yards on six attempts and reached the end zone twice, including a 62-yard run against the Bills last week.
Pittsburgh’s starting RB Najee Harris rushed for 24 yards on six carries in the preseason. Harris has started every game in his first two seasons, rushing for 14 touchdowns and caught another six in 34 career games.
#Steelers RB Jaylen Warren gets LOOSE 💨
Is the second-year back in line for a major breakout in 2023? 👀
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) August 19, 2023
Who Will Be Pickett’s Top Targets?
Diontae Johnson and George Pickens have made some spectacular catches this preseason. Johnson caught four passes for 65 yards, and Pickens connected with Pickett three times for 76 yards. Johnson caught 87 passes last season but failed to score a touchdown after scoring 20 in his first three seasons. Pickens had 52 receptions and four touchdowns in his rookie season.
Still thinking about this throw from Kenny Pickett to Diontae Johnson in the first quarter 😍pic.twitter.com/QCzZMQCPQZ
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) August 25, 2023
Will This Success Carry Over to the Regular Season?
Six teams in each of the last two preseasons have averaged at least 25 points per game. Only six of the 12 teams reached the postseason. In 2021, the Bills and Patriots finished the regular season in the top 10 for scoring; the Dolphins, Steelers, and Broncos finished 21st or lower.
In 2022, scoring 25 points per game in the preseason didn’t result in regular-season success. None of the six teams that averaged 25 points per game finished the regular season in the top 10 in scoring.
Only two teams made the playoffs: the Dolphins and Giants. The other four teams won seven games or fewer. The Jets and Colts finished 29th and 31st, respectively, in scoring.
The Steelers finished 26th in scoring offense with 18.1 points per game in 2022 after averaging 22.3 points per game last preseason. What will the pattern be in 2023?