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Grading the 2022 Steelers offense, the good, the bad, and the meh

If I could grade the Steelers offensive 2022 season based on their week 17 victory over divisional rival the Cleveland Browns, they’d be sitting with a few more stars than I gave them. But that is not how grading works for the overall picture.

I don’t give brownie points to rookies, receivers who run great routes, or the fan-favorite potential. Instead, I base my grades on what happened on the field throughout an entire season.

Final Steelers 2022 Offensive Rankings and record

  • Points Scored: 308 (Ranked 26th)
  • The offense ranked 16th overall for 2022
  • Steelers finish 9-8 3rd in the AFC North

The Good: Rookies show up big for the 2022 Steelers offense

Four players come to mind regarding the good we saw from the 2022 Steelers offense. Three of the four are rookies QB Kenny Pickett, WR George Pickens, and RB Jaylen Warren.

The fourth player on our list is second-year running back Najee Harris, who surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground for the second season in a row. Harris finished 2022 with 1038 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 272 carries, and averaged 3.8 yards per carry.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett started his rookie year rough by turning the ball over before improving after the Steelers bye week. Pickett threw for 2,404 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Pickett also scrambled 28 times for 198 yards total. He rushed for 3 touchdowns using his legs in 2022.

Wide receiver George Pickens finished his rookie campaign being targeted 84 times and finished with 52 receptions. Pickens had 801 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. His stats do not illustrate just how good he was and how great he can be going forward. The rookie wideout gave the Steelers some of their most entertaining catches and showcased great hands.

One of the more surprising 2022 performances came from undrafted rookie running back Jaylen Warren. Warren became the Steelers 2nd head of their monster running game in 2022. Warren put up 379 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 77 carries, and finished with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. His average per carry was tied for 12 in the league.

The Steelers 2022 Draft Class came in big for the offense, which struggled most of the season overall.

The Bad: Wide receiver Diontae Johnson’s zero touchdowns

No single player on the Steelers roster was more disappointing than Diontae Johnson in 2022. Johnson was coming off a two-year, $36.71 million contract extension. His year finished with 141 targets, 86 receptions, 882 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

Johnson had 8 drops which were 2 drops more than his 2021 season. Johnson also had issues with teammate quarterback Mitch Trubisky after complaining about his targets during a halftime game earlier in the season.

An overall lousy season performance from a wideout who did not perform like a true number one. Looking back, his extension was a costly mistake they’ll have no choice but to deal with. You can brag about his routes all you want, but zero touchdowns are never acceptable, especially from a guy at the top of the Steelers depth chart.

Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada… Where do I begin here when it comes to the Canada play calling? Uninspiring, predictable, and famously the Matt Canada jet sweeps.

Don’t worry, Pittsburgh; we will get more Matt Canada in 2023. I cannot contain my excitement about that.

The Meh: Offensive line is a mix of good and bad

Before you rage about me putting the Steelers offensive line on the meh list, I want to point out some positive things about this group. The unit was the most stable in the league for 2022. The fact that this line stayed so healthy was why I gave them a C because it matters. The Steelers offensive line ranked seventh in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency as well.

So why are they on the meh list? The line had a few bad apples: LT Dan Moore Jr and G Kevin Dotson. The two linemen combined for a total of 22 penalties. Moore gave up 7 sacks, 10 hits, and 39 pressures. Dotson allowed  4 sacks, 4 hits, and 16 pressures. The biggest issue with Dotson was the 12 penalties he gave up in 2022.

The Steelers would be smart to address their left tackle position most in the 2023 offseason, as Dan Moore Jr. did not show enough to be considered the guy to protect Kenny Pickett’s blind side.

Grades are the author’s opinions and do not reflect the opinions of as a whole.

Justin Otstott
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