For Pittsburgh Steelers fans looking for a silver lining in 2022, a down season so rare, it’s only been experienced once in a generation, take a little bit of solace in the fact that we’re not alone.
There’s been a lot more bad football across the NFL this season.
This is in no way an attempt to seek comfort. The Steelers record speaks for itself, and the stats provide plenty of context: 31st in scoring, 28th in total offense. But if the black and gold were to choose any season to be off, this would be the off-est.
Offenses are being hampered by officiating. There were 46 ineligible downfield pass penalties in 2021. The refs have already surpassed that in 2022 (Pittsburgh has 5, tied for the most with Miami).
Thursday night matchups had a 3-game stretch where offense was so rare, it inspired headlines like “The Existential Horror of Thursday Night Football,” and “Thursday Night Football continues to be the worst, but the NFL doesn’t care.”
The reliable stars of the past are all in transition. Russell Wilson went from leading the league in quarterback rating, to being just above Mitch Trubisky. A year ago Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were all in the MVP conversation, but none would be today. In 2021, Matthew Stafford was on pace for 41 touchdowns. Today he has 8.
The younger generation of QBs have not replaced the veteran numbers yet. Trevor Lawrence has more loses on his resume than wins. Before he upset the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets fans were calling for the benching of Zach Wilson. Trey Lance is hurt. Mac Jones is struggling.
League-wide stats prove that offenses are having a harder time in general. This is a trend across the enter NFL. Jason La Confora broke down the data for the Washington Post.
Touchdowns and scoring in general are down this season. La Confora’s argument is that the right quarterbacks aren’t paired up with the proper coach. He estimates only five teams currently have the right QB/coach combination (but doesn’t say which five).
None of this specifically explains the 2022 Steelers offense. They’re ranked 31st in points scored, 28th in total yards, 29th in touchdowns, 32nd in interceptions, 29th in yards per pass attempt, 27th in rushing yards, 27th in yards per rush attempt. But maybe the Steelers aren’t playing bad football, they’re just ahead of the curve on the latest NFL trend.
Kyle Chrise is the host of “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout” on BTSC. New episodes drop every Thursday. Check out the latest episode in the player below: