The Pittsburgh Steelers have looked horrible to start the 2022 season, and it’s no surprise to see that they have crawled out to a 2-6 record. The Steelers have struggled to figure out how to consistently move the ball on offense, and while their defense has been solid in the early going, they haven’t been able to do enough to lead the team to wins on a consistent basis.

The struggles aren’t necessarily surprising considering the team is transitioning away from longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but they are concerning. Nothing has gone right for Pittsburgh so far, and while they have picked up a pair of shocking wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have shown no signs that they are capable of beating teams on a consistent basis.

There have been a lot of surprises from the Steelers ugly start to the season, but it’s clear one such surprise looms larger than the rest. Let’s take a look at what that big surprise is, and see why it has impacted the team in such a negative way through the first half of the season.

Steelers biggest surprise: The state of their offense

The Steelers offense, as previously mentioned, has been awful so far this season. Yes, they are figuring out their quarterback situation this season, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have a ton of talent that hasn’t been able to yield results. There are a lot of reasons why that is the case, but it has all added up to become one of the worst offenses in the league this season.

Even without Roethlisberger, the Steelers have a lot of playmakers on their roster. They are stocked with pass-catching talent, with Diontae Johnson and George Pickens leading the way at wide receiver and Pat Freiermuth holding down the fort at tight end. They even had Chase Claypool for most of the first half of the season, but ended up trading him to the Chicago Bears to a second-round pick.

Having that type of talent on offense should realistically be enough for any quarterback to at least move the ball on a consistent basis, but that hasn’t been the case with the Steelers so far this season. Johnson, who is realistically one of the top wideouts in the league, is leading the Steelers in receptions and yards, but his production (43 REC, 372 YDS, 0 TD) is nowhere near what it should be.

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That goes without saying that much of the blame falls on Pittsburgh’s quarterback duo of Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky got the keys to the starting job entering the season, but was so bad that he was replaced by Pickett in Week 4 against the New York Jets. Trubisky filled in for Pickett in Week 6 to lead them to a shocking win over the Buccaneers, but other than that, it’s been Pickett’s team since Week 4.

The problem is that Pickett has largely been horrible for the Steelers. He turns the ball over like it’s his job, as he’s committed nine total turnovers in his five games of work, and he didn’t even play the entire game in two of those cases. Pickett has shown potential, but he’s been overmatched early on.

Trubisky has been no better, though. He has shown virtually no desire to make winning plays, and spends most of his time doing his best to not turn the ball over or get himself benched. The Steelers conundrum at quarterback is the prime reason they find themselves in the position they are in.

Neither guy has helped themselves by failing to make things work with a talented cast of pass-catchers, but they also haven’t gotten much help from the ground game, which is led by second-year running back Najee Harris. Harris has looked bad this season (108 CAR, 361 YDS, 1 TD, 24 REC, 112 YDS, 2 TD) after a breakout rookie campaign, and unsurprisingly, that hasn’t exactly helped matters on offense.

Harris has also been out produced drastically by rookie running back Jaylen Warren when he’s gotten the chance to play (5.3 yards per carry compared to Harris’ woeful 3.3 yards per carry) only adding to the confusion surrounding the offense. If Harris keeps on struggling, Warren should see more snaps, because the offense needs to get yards anyway they can.

Overall, the Steelers offense is a mess, and it’s been quite surprising to see just how bad they have been this season. There haven’t been any signs that they are going to be getting better anytime soon either, and it would be surprising to see things get better before they get worse. Pittsburgh is figuring things out this season, but through eight games, it has been a much uglier process than anyone could have expected.