Through two weeks, the best play in the Steelers’ playbook seems to be throwing the ball to Diontae Johnson.
Johnson has 22 targets, 14 receptions and 141 yards on the season, all of which lead Steelers receivers.
Furthermore, he’s been extremely efficient in his receiving, after dealing with drops throughout the 2020 season. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson does not have a drop among his 22 targets this season, the most targets of any player without a drop. That came after PFF credited Johnson with 15 drops in 2020.
He’s not just catching the easy ones, either. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the 41-yard completion from Ben Roethlisberger to Diontae Johnson on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders was the most improbable catch of the week and second-least probable completion of the season.
Per Next Gen Stats, this Ben Roethlisberger 41-yard pass to Diontae Johnson had a 12.9% completion probability.
That makes it the second-most improbable completion of the NFL season thus far.
— Bradley Locker (@Bradley_Locker) September 22, 2021
The pass had a 12.9% completion probability based on air yards and position on the field.
But based on the coverage that the Raiders were giving the Steelers throughout the game, those deep sideline shots were there for the taking, and Roethlisberger said the team needs to complete more of them.
“Diontae got one, but we missed a couple of them,” Roethlisberger said. “If we connect on even one early, I think it could change the outcome of the way defenses play you.”
Johnson’s health status for Week 3 is up in the air after he suffered a knee injury on the final play of Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. Head coach Mike Tomlin seemed optimistic about Johnson’s prognosis on Tuesday.