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Steelers Offense Makes Huge Change in Win

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Steelers play caller Mike Sullivan
Steelers QB coach and play caller Mike Sullivan against the Bengals, Dec. 23, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers offense came out of nowhere against the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense to put up 34 points and pulverize the unit. Even if the unit is below average, the offense had not had a breakout performance like that in years of victory, so it is notable that they finally got it. The big change was Mason Rudolph stepping up, but one other change made a world of difference, too.

Pittsburgh’s cleanliness on the offensive side of the ball gave them an entirely new dimension that they could work with on the ground and in the air.

The Steelers did everything they needed to do. But they stayed ahead of schedule and did not have many costly turnovers. A holding call on Dan Moore Jr. and an illegal shift penalty were the two blemishes on that mark, but they did not get hit with consistent penalties that kept them behind the sticks. It’s something basic that we have talked about for weeks, and the Steelers changed their fortunes on Saturday.

“We just did the basic things well,” receiver Allen Robinson II said. “You know, we stayed ahead of the sticks, didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, did not have any penalties that pushed us back.”

Credit to the team for that. They needed that to push forward and it was the difference between many of their past performances. For the first time all year, the team surged to a complete game, and for the most part, a clean game. With that occurring, it allowed motion to become more useful.

The team’s jet motion was worked into passing game concepts and built off other ideas rather than the guys just getting cardio. When they run the swing pass to Warren on the motion all of the time in shotgun, the team works behind the coverage to hit Robinson a wheel route. Rudolph allowed the coaching staff to feel confident that the team got into a rhythm, and the play sequencing started to follow that.

For once, it felt like a well-coached unit. This offensive staff deserves all of the ire they have received over the season, but on Saturday at least, they made necessary changes to spice up a badly stagnant offense with their new quarterback under center.

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