So far this year, the offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been one of many things that has struggled. Injuries along the offensive line and in the backfield has played a major part in the team’s inability to produce. This has been clearly evident in the Steelers’ failure to put the ball in the end zone.
Throughout their first six games of the season, Pittsburgh has scored only one touchdown in two of their games and a total of nine in that span. This lack of scoring has the Steelers ranked 29th in the league in total points with 107.
Most of the team’s points have come from kicker Shaun Suisham. The nine-year veteran is perfect on the year so far, connecting on all 14 of his field goal attempts. The Steelers have settled for four field goals in two games this season and three in another.
One thing that will definitely help Pittsburgh put six on the board instead of three, is improving on their third-down efficiency. On the year, the Steelers have converted on only 31 of their 79 third downs, which is 39 percent of the time.
Pittsburgh’s improvement in both scoring and third-down efficiency might be a bit difficult this week when they face the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers will be up against the 12th best defense in the NFL, however, there is a reason for optimism.
Last season, Pittsburgh squared off against the Raiders and scored four touchdowns while ending the game totaling 31 points in a three-point loss. Furthermore, the Steelers converted on 57 percent of their third downs (eight out of 14), and were two-for-two on fourth down.
The hopefulness in the Steel City is on the rise now that the team is on a two-game winning streak after a 0-4 start to the season. In order to keep this momentum shifting in their favor, Pittsburgh must control the line of scrimmage in both the passing and running games. Giving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger time in the pocket and opening holes for rookie running back Le’Veon Bell will definitely make converting third downs and scoring touchdowns much easier, therefore, keeping the Steelers on the winning track.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+