For six quarters, the Panthers have looked nothing like the team fans saw earlier this season. But while the defense has struggled, it's the offense that has been worse.
None of this is to pin the past two losses solely on the offense. The Pitt defense folded against a backup quarterback against Iowa and failed to stop what had been a poor Akron running game heading into this past weekend. The secondary's issues are well documented, but overall, it's the offense that needs to do more.
Pitt's defense still ranks a solid 23rd in the nation. While some of that was helped by pitching an early-season shutout against FCS Delaware, the Panthers defense hasn't exactly been giving up a ton of points. 21 to Akron may have been more than expected, but wasn't an insurmountable number. Same for the 24 the team gave up to Iowa the week before.
The offense, on the other hand, has been even worse. The team managed only three points in the second half against the Hawkeyes. That was bad but the meager ten they managed against Akron was downright awful.
Part of the issue, as has been pointed out here before, is the somewhat predictable nature of the offense. Paul Chryst does have the team throwing a bit more, but when they have, quarterback Chad Voytik has too often focused on Tyler Boyd or just been flat out inconsistent. And drops like the one Kevin Weatherspoon made this weekend against Akron have contributed to his fairly weak numbers.
Pitt simply didn't take advantage of what had the look of being a down defense. With so many offensive weapons, there's really no reason the unit couldn't do more to score points.
Another problem is that the offense has been shooting itself in the foot. Dorian Johnson had a bad holding penalty on the slant route that initially went to Boyd for a touchdown. On the next play, Weatherspoon's big drop meant the team had to settle for three points instead of seven. Trailing 14-10 on the team's next drive, despite a 2nd down and 1, two James Conner runs were both stuffed and the team was forced to punt. On the following drive, after getting to Akron's 25-yard line, Voytik threw an interception, virtually killing any chance for a Pitt rally.
In addition, the offense had similar woes in the second half of the Iowa game. Simply put, that type of stuff can't happen.
The defense has had their fair share of issues and losses are a team thing. But the Panthers' offense is the unit that should take on more of the blame for the recent losses.