It was odd, very weird to finish last season without a touchdown

After signing a two-year extension with the Steelers last August, receiver Diontae Johnson put together a solid season. But there is one thing that’s clearly missing from Johnson’s 2022 stat line:

A touchdown reception.

After catching 20 TDs in his first three seasons for Pittsburgh, Johnson finished last year with 86 catches, 882 yards, and no trips to the end zone.

“It was an odd year, very weird,” Johnson said, via Mike Prisuta of the Steelers website. “It was hard to like really cope with it every week. I’d think, ‘I wonder if I’m gonna get in the end zone this week? I wonder if I’m gonna get my touches?’ Now, I can’t do anything about it, it happened. I had to move forward. I just had to keep playing every week, trying to do my best just to not think about it.

“This year I’m ready. The past is the past. I believe Kenny [Pickett] is gonna get me the ball this year and the coaches are gonna call the plays we need to call to make that happen.”

As a rookie, Pickett had only seven touchdown passes in his 13 games. The Steelers had just 12 touchdown passes total last year — and receiver Chase Claypool threw one of them.

But Johnson expects that to change now that the unit has been preparing to play with Pickett all offseason long.

“Just getting that timing down, being out there every day with him, you get those reps,” Johnson said. “That builds the chemistry with him. Just him being comfortable with his guys out there, knowing who’s going to be out there at all times gives him the ability to play free and us to play free and allows us to do what we do.”

“The chemistry is there with all the guys,” Johnson added. “We’re moving as one unit, that’s what you need. … We do that as one, nobody can stop us.”

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