Kenny Pickett pulled out what was a rare offensive outing for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon.
For the first time in more than three years, the Steelers racked up more than 400 yards of offense at Paycor Stadium on Sunday in their 16-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The last time the Steelers’ offense surpassed the 400-yard mark was in Week 2 of the 2020 season, 58 games ago, when Ben Roethlisberger was still leading the team.
Since 2021, according to The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia, there have been 333 games where an offense had at least 400 yards in a game across the league. The Steelers accounted for none of them until Sunday.
The Steelers’ win came just a week after the team fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada, too. Before Sunday’s game, the Steelers were in the bottom five in the league in total yards per game (280.1) and points per game (16.6) so far this season, and they were second-worst in passing yards with just 170 per contest. Pickett had struggled, too. The second year quarterback entered Sunday with just 1,772 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He averaged just 3.8 yards per completion last week, which was a season-low, and he held a 35.7 QBR. Things weren’t great.
But Sunday was a very different story for Pickett. Though he didn’t throw a touchdown, he went 24-of-33 for 278 yards in the win while averaging 8.4 yards per completion. He hit tight end Pat Freiermuth nine times for 120 receiving yards, and both Diontae Johnson and George Pickens had at least 50 receiving yards each. As a team, the Steelers had 421 yards — which is nearly double what the Bengals put up.
The Steelers’ lone touchdown came in the third quarter on a five-yard run from Najee Harris, who had 99 yards on 15 carries on the day. The touchdown capped a 14-play, 79 yard drive and put the Steelers up 10-7 at halftime.
The Steelers then hit a pair of field goals, and held Cincinnati to just one of its own in the second half, to grab the six-point win.
While Pickett and the Steelers offense finally had things rolling, the Bengals are also struggling in their own right. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow is out for the season with a wrist injury, and the Bengals boast one of the worst defenses in the league when it comes to allowing big plays and efficient plays. They’ve allowed the third-most yards per game, and had only generated 35 tackles for no gain or a loss — which is last in the NFL and seven fewer than the next closest team as of last week.
Jake Browning went 19-26 for 227 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Bengals. Joe Mixon led them on the ground with just 16 yards on eight carries, and Ja’Marr Chase had 81 yards on four catches. The Bengals have now lost three straight, and dropped below .500 on the season.
The Steelers are now 7-4 this season and have won five of their last seven games. They’ll host the Arizona Cardinals next week. While it’s fair to question how good the Steelers offense actually is, considering Sunday was only one outing after what was a very, very rough stretch, Pickett’s performance was undoubtedly impressive. Now we’ll see if he can string two games together.