PITTSBURGH — What can the Steelers’ offense do? Even on a day when they cracked 30 points for the first time in nearly a year, the offense fell so flat in the second half that it led to the Steelers losing to the Bengals 37-30. Pittsburgh can take away some positives from their performance, but until they put together a full-on performance, the offense will not truly be good.
Diontae Johnson was one of the focal points who did nothing of note on Sunday. Only gaining 21 receiving yards total, it was George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth, and Najee Harris who manned the offense for the most part. Kenny Pickett had an answer for why Johnson was largely shut out of the game. The Bengals sat back in two-high coverages and forced Pickett to go elsewhere from Johnson.
“With the coverage they were playing, I felt like they weren’t letting Diontae get singled up,” Pickett said. “That’s frustrating when he’s that good of a player, that talented, and they try and take him out of the game plan. There is some things, maybe move him around more and get him in different spots to try and get him the ball. You know, but when they’re playing a two-high shell and they got a safety over the top, it’s tough.”
Johnson can get frustrated very easily by the lack of production, as any receiver would. With Jessie Bates ranging over the top and a bevy of Bengals cornerbacks playing him on outside leverage as well, Johnson could not find any space to work with for most of the game. However, Johnson did not want to speak on offensive perils as a whole.
“I don’t want to speak on that too much,” Johnson said. “It’s out of my control. I know it looks like I want to be involved like that, but it is what it is. This is the situation I’m in. I have to deal with it.”
Diontae Johnson mentioned that anyone in a struggling offense that he is right now would be frustrated by the overall lack of production. The Steelers are still trying to feed Johnson, but teams are sliding over his way to try and take away the Steelers’ star receiver. By doing so and with Johnson playing with an inexperienced, rookie quarterback, his production has largely dipped.
“Any football player would be frustrated,” Johnson said. “But like I said I just have to keep dealing with it.”
The Steelers put themselves in tough positions and could not get out of them. For the players who have been through the entire season’s process, nothing has got them to truly find consistency to this point.