Head coach Mike Tomlin had words for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense after the first two weeks of the season.
Following the Steelers defeating the Las Vegas Raiders with their best offensive performance of the early part of the season, running back Najee Harris had words for Tomlin.
“Mike T just be talkin’ s***,” Harris told reporters in the locker room after the Week 3 victory. “You’re gonna have some games where stuff doesn’t go your way. All that matters is what you do the next play, the next game.
“I think that’s more of a challenge he gave us.”
The Steelers offense rose to the challenge.
Although it wasn’t the perfect offensive outing, the Steelers recorded a season-high 228 passing yards and 105 rushing yards during Week 3. Furthermore, for the first time this season, they also didn’t commit a turnover in the 23-18 victory.
Mike Tomlin’s Challenge to Offense
A simple challenge or not, Tomlin put his offense on notice through the media on September 19.
“Offensively, we have to get our mojo back. We’ve got to get that mojo that we had in the preseason where we were playing fast and fluid, with confidence, individually and collectively,” Tomlin told reporters. “We’ve lost that, to be blunt, in the last several weeks.”
The mojo Tomlin referred to was how the unit played during the preseason. The Steelers first-team offense played five drives during the preseason, and all five ended in touchdowns. Quarterback Kenny Pickett had a perfect passer rating too.
The regular season has been a different story. The Steelers were tied for a league-low two offensive touchdowns in the first two weeks combined. Pittsburgh also had yet to reach 100 rushing yards before Week 3.
Against the Raiders, though, the Steelers rushed for a season-high 105 yards. Harris led the way with 65 yards.
Pickett had his best game too, averaging 8.4 yards per attempt with zero interceptions and just 1 sack. He threw 2 touchdowns as well to record his first NFL game with multiple touchdown passes.
“There’s opportunity for growth, obviously, but I was really proud of the efforts and the playmaking,” Tomlin said during his postgame press conference. “We did what we needed to do to secure victory.”
Tomlin denied to elaborate on what specifically he liked about the offense, but he did add that Pickett communicated well in the road environment.
Steelers to Build Upon Offensive Performance in Week 3?
Tomlin didn’t really care much for the notion that Week 3 could be a launching point for the Steelers offense. When asked if the unit could grow confidence with its performance against the Raiders, Tomlin said the team is looking for wins, not confidence.
But in reality, if the Steelers experience success this season, then Week 3 will likely prove to be a turning point.
Even much maligned offensive coordinator Matt Canada improved against the Raiders. In critical situations, he seemed comfortable calling plays that moved Pickett away from the pocket and gave the young quarterback easier completions in the flat.
Canada called that type of play on third-and-2 with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter and the Steelers clinging to a 5-point lead. Pickett executed the play, which allowed the offense to milk most of the remaining clock.