Outside of the opening drive on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense in the first half over the course of the past two games has not been far north of garbage. They looked fantastic on that opening drive, with the Ben Roethlisberger connection to Antonio Brown being particularly on point (or on fleek, for you youngins), but the rest of it was as ugly as the first half against the Colts a week ago.
Even though they ended up going into halftime with a 16-7 lead over the Titans, they didn’t do a great deal on their own after the first drive, having had two drives set up in field goal range by the defense. They did put up a late field goal drive at the end of the half starting from their own 33, similar to their lone points in the first half against the Colts.
But the second half of both games was a much different story. They scored 17 points in the second half against the Colts, and it should have been 20 if not for a missed field goal. After that late surge, I posed the question if the Steelers were ready to break out.
It looked like they were answering that question early on the opening drive, but the offense went into hibernation for the rest of the first half before storming out of the gates in the second, opening their turns on offense with three consecutive touchdowns drives, all with red-zone scores.
They scored 23 points overall in the second half, and if they wanted to, they could have added a field goal at the end, taking three knees inside the 20-yard line. Overall, they have scored 40 points in the second halves of the past two games, and 19 in the first halves.
What does this mean, if anything? It’s not like it has been a continuing pattern. They scored 10 points in each half in Detroit, then 20 points in the first half against the Bengals, with only nine in the second half. They scored 12 and then six points in each half against the Chiefs.
I don’t know that it means much of anything, except to say that two of their three best offensive halves have come in their past game and a half. And even their worst half in that span produced 16 points. Over the last six quarters, they have produced 57 points. They produced 23 over the previous six.
So after two very good halves over the course of the past two games, is this what we should expect from the offense from now on? Are they finally hitting their midseason stride, at, you know, the midpoint of the season?
The big plays seem to be returning, and they have had a bit of success in the red zone. Those areas, as well as the third-down conversion rate, all still need work, but they still have time. But in the meantime, at least, they have been scoring, with at least 16 points in each of their last three halves.