The Pittsburgh Steelers surpassed the 400-yard mark for the first time since Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Bengals defense should look inward after a tough showing at home, it was also the Steelers first game since offensive coordinator Matt Canada was fired.
Former quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan called the plays in Week 12, and the offense looked far better with Sully leading the charge. While the narrative surrounding the Pittsburgh offense had grown tired of late -- that Canada was holding Kenny Pickett and the Steelers back -- so far, that seems to have been the case. Pittsburgh RB Jaylen Warren spoke on the difference between the Steelers offense this week, and previously with Canada at the helm.
"More communication," Warren said. "I don't know how to say this without being too explicit, but more willing to take shots. Taking more risks."
Did Jaylen Warren and the Steelers take a shot at Matt Canada?
Warren avoided taking a direct shot at Canada, but many comments from the Steelers players -- plus the way they reacted in the locker room following the game -- is an indictment of the former OC. Frankly, who can blame them?
The Steelers offense has talent. Even if Pickett isn't the franchise quarterback, he's better than his previous performance this season would suggest. The backfield of Warren and Najee Harris has a chance to be dominant. George Pickens and Diontae Johnson are potential game-breakers. And Pat Freiermuth, who had been ignored in the middle of the field all season long, finally had a breakout 100-yard game.
The adjustments made by Sullivan and Co. weren't all that complex. Warren and Pickens should see more playing time moving forward. Pittsburgh didn't avoid the middle of the field in the passing game.
Somehow, Canada didn't take any of that into account prior to his dismissal.