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'We're getting closer and closer every week'

The improvement of the Steelers' offense in the last month has been dramatic, but it's been achieved without any type of dramatic catalyst.

"There was no big 'Come to Jesus' or anything that really sticks out," tight end Zach Gentry maintained. "I think it's just everybody getting a lot more comfortable."

With increased comfort has come increased productivity, individually and collectively.

If there was a point of departure it was the bye week, for whatever reason.

In the four weeks preceding the Steelers' bye on Nov. 6, they went 1-3 and averaged 13.2 points per game. Quarterback Kenny Pickett threw two touchdown passes and eight interceptions and had a passer rating of 66.8.

In four games since the bye, the Steelers have gone 3-1 and averaged 23.3 points per game. Pickett has two touchdown passes, hasn't been intercepted and has a passer rating of 85.9.

But it's been much more than Pickett, who is scheduled to make his ninth NFL start when the Steelers host Baltimore on Sunday, that's allowed the offense to find its legs.

In fighting through the hard times early in the season, the Steelers have found strength in numbers.

"For sure," Gentry continued. "We have three good running backs that rotate in, they're staying healthy, they're making plays all in their own way. We have tight ends that are all doing their job. We have five linemen that are doing a heck of a job. We have guys that can catch the ball downfield.

"We're getting closer and closer, it feels like, every week to putting it all together."

Added Pickett: "There's no secret, man. Everyone wants to be great fast and all that stuff, and we're pushing ourselves to become that every day but it's a process. You have to go through it, you have to learn and you have to go through some adversities to improve and get better.

"I think we've done that. We just gotta continue to do that to get wins."

It's not as if offensive coordinator Matt Canada's message or methods have changed.

Nor has the way the players have been accepting and dissecting information.

What's transpiring, Canada maintained, is the result of the players putting in the time required for such a transformation.

"They're playing better," he assessed. "We're executing better, we're having less missed assignments, I think there's more accountability amongst the players with each other but there's no dramatic change."

Running back Jaylen Warren also cited accountability as a factor.

"People had to just start buying into the culture," he said. "Taking care of the ball, doing your job, playing for each other, being able to go out there and just trust one another, not try to do someone else's job."

That and a gradual grasp of how to attack the challenges the offense has confronted week to week is making a difference.

"It's hard," Canada said. "It's hard to build, it's hard to be young, it's hard to make mistakes, it's hard to make mistakes at critical times and this is the National Football League. We're making less mistakes. We're making more plays.

"We're still leaving points on the board and we can't leave them out there but I think we're getting better."

Gentry does, too.

"I don't think there was any sort of thing that jump-started it," he said. "I think it was kinda just a natural progression of guys figuring out roles, figuring out what they needed to do to successfully move the ball.

"We're not doing anything crazy-different. I think it's just kind of a step, the maturation of a young offense, a young team that's got a young quarterback. Everybody's meshing together now at the right time."