The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been under the microscope for the past two seasons as it has struggled to generate points and sustain drives.
Second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett has had some growing pains, and offensive coordinator Matt Canada has had his job called for due to his play calls and unimaginative offense.
Despite all of that, Pickett and the Steelers offense has still managed to complete not only the longest touchdown pass in the NFL this season, but also the two longest touchdown passes through three games.
Pickett’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin on Sunday night is the longest passing play in the NFL this season and helped them tie the game on their way to a 23-18 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
That touchdown came just one week after this 71-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens in their 26-22 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.
What makes the Steelers’ two big-play touchdowns stand out even more is they went the entire 2022 season having just one touchdown pass of more than 25 yards, and that did not come until Week 18 of the season when Pickett connected with Pickens on a 31-yard score.
They did not have a single passing play of any kind longer than 57 yards for the entire season.
This season is only three weeks old and they have already hit two 70-yard touchdowns.
There are two possibilities for this. The first is that Pickett is feeling more comfortable and confident pushing the ball down the middle of the field and the Steelers are more inclined to let him do so. The second is that opposing defenses know the limitations of the Steelers offense and are crowding everybody on the line and creating openings downfield. In that instance, it is inevitable that the Steelers will connect on some plays. The key for them is to hit more of those plays to push opposing defenses back so they can get their running game going again.