The Pittsburgh Steelers have gone 56 straight games without 400 total yards of offense. This marks the longest drought of such sort in the NFL in over a decade No other team has even gone an excess of 15 games without such production.
The Steelers have been able to muster up winning seasons in that span despite the lack of offensive explosion. Former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden is high on Pittsburgh’s chances of breaking that mold.
McFadden High on Steelers’ Air Raid to Deliver Big Production
“We will surpass 400 yards total offense. Kenny Pickett, George Pickens, Jaylen [Warren], Diontae [Johnson],” he said convincingly before the conversation took a tangent.
McFadden is high on his guys, but they have several things to overcome. Kenny Pickett recovered from a rib injury to down the Tennessee Titans last week. How much he will be bothered by the ailment this Sunday remains to be seen.
Notably, Pickett has not surpassed 235 passing yards on the year. Further, he only has one career game where he’s gone for over 300 yards. Based on this trend, pressure lies on the run game to break free for at least 100 yards to give them a chance.
WR George Pickens will need to turn things around in order for the sub-400-yard streak to end. Pickett’s primary target has 21 receiving yards in his last two games. Moreover, his negative yardage against the Titans led to him mounting with frustrations as a result.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s other dynamic wideout Diontae Johnson was recently fined $25,000 for incendiary remarks against the referees for blown calls he believes cost them a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8.
Both Pickens and Johnson, who McFadden shouted out, have to outshine a Packers secondary that has held teams to 1,569 yards in the air — one of 7 teams to limit air attacks to under 1,700 yards thus far — and has generated 20 sacks on the year.
Pittsburgh Need Run Game Support to Break Slump
The Steelers are bottom-10 in the NFL in 20 and 40 passing yard gains. Pickett is no stranger to criticism for his lack of a big arm.
Pittsburgh has already overcome a touchdown cold spell from their backfield that persisted throughout the first five games of the year. Further, they’re carrying momentum from a season-high 5.5 yards per attempt on 30 carries against the Titans.
Jaylen Warren led all backs with 88 yards rushing. If he and Najee Harris can keep things up, they can create more 1st down opportunities. This will gift Pickett more offensive possessions and allow them all to pile on yards in the process.
The Last Time The Steelers Hit the 400-Yard Marker
The cold spell that McFadden is hoping becomes no more this Sunday dates all the way back to Sept. 20, 2020, when Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers lit up the Denver Broncos for 301 passing yards and 109 rushing yards en route to their second of 11 consecutive victories to kick off that season.
Even with Roethlisberger’s big, yet aging arm, the Steelers could not enjoy such success from then until his retirement at the end of 2021, spilling over into Pickett’s takeover of the offense.
Pittsburgh’s winning ways offer a cover for their subpar yardage. However, finding ways to gain more yards should always be a point of focus for OC Matt Canada and the team in practice and film sessions.