BALTIMORE – Decision makers among the Pittsburgh Steelers brass? They have long believed that Kenny Pickett had what it takes to lead a team on a successful campaign with the game on the line.
Pickett’s teammates in the Steelers offense? If they were not insured before, they must have started buying on Christmas Eve, when Pickett directed a 76-yard touchdown drive to me Beat the Las Vegas Raiders to keep Consider the Steelers playoff game Alive.
But perhaps the greatest compliment to Beckett comes not from his coaches or those in the crowd with him — but from those who stand up for the Steelers.
Read what the Steelers defensive leaders had to say after their squad 16-13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.
“The kid is growing before our eyes,” said Steelers’ longest-serving linebacker Cameron Heyward. “He makes quality throws, and drives us down the field. It’s really cool that I’m (24) years old and a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You have to love the way he drives that offense. And he just keeps growing week after week.”
This week—the penultimate weekend of the NFL regular season—Pickett orchestrated an 11-play, 80-yard drive that began with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left in regulation and ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nagy Harris with 56 seconds remaining.
What a play by a rookie! MustafaHosny Oh God, Amen
– NFL January 2, 2023
On the lighting drive, Pickett was 5-for-6 for 64 yards with the touchdown pass as well as his two first-down sneaks on plays third and one.
“We do a lot of practically two-minute drives, and you see a moxie in the middle,” said NFL Player of the Year outside linebacker TJ Watt. “We’ve seen our guys go out and play in training all season.
“We weren’t surprised.”
If anyone was surprised, they weren’t watching eight days ago when Pickett went 7-for-9 for 75 yards and a touchdown (plus a successful QB sneak on fourth-and-1) against the Raiders when they face the exact same scenario: trailing by four points, losing the Steelers’ elimination, and (On that day) 2 minutes 55 seconds.
This was Beckett’s 10The tenth NFL starter and 11The tenth The game, became his second win in the fourth quarter. On Sunday in Baltimore, Pickett earned his third career win in his 11 careersThe tenth Starting and winning the sixth as a start.
Kenny Pickett on the winning TD card to Nagy Harris pic.twitter.com/q8dqnAfU0C
– Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) January 2, 2023
“I can’t say enough about our young QB,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. “He smiled at her. He’s always ready to be that guy in the moments we need him. And it’s good to see the young man.”
Pickett continued the trend of being a clutch, at his best in the most crucial moments to head off overall efforts that had been mediocre up to that point.
Just like against the Raiders, Pickett and the Steelers didn’t score a touchdown until the very last minute. Also like the previous game, Pickett’s home streak was… underwhelming… over 55 minutes on Sunday. His passer rating sat at 62.4 after completing just 10 of his first 21 passes for 104 yards and no touchdowns.
But in winning driving? This rating was 111.1.
“I think it’s just the confidence that I had in myself showing up on the field, and I think the players are starting to feel that, which is always good,” said Pickett. “Going into the huddle and seeing how confident everyone is, as the quarterback, you know they have a lot of faith in you, and I have a lot of faith in those guys in the huddle. So, when that’s out there, you definitely have a chance.”
• The Steelers’ playoff hopes are still soaring after a dramatic win over the Ravens
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• Feats of power: Another late drive on Kenny Pickett, Naji Harris exploits the Steelers’ “push” to win in Baltimore
• First Contact: Update on the Miami QBs; checking Deshaun Watson’s progress before a Steelers game; Winter classic preview
Just as against the Raiders, the “cut plays” that made the Steelers a large chunk of the way down the field on their final drive came with passes over the middle: 20 yards to tight end Pat Freiermuth, and 28 yards on Steven Sims’ catch-and-run.
The 80 yards covered required three third down conversions: a Pickett sneak, and a touchdown in which he floated off the left pylon to Harris. It came after Beckett was forced to scramble left to avoid pressure from Jason Pierre-Paul and give up a pass when Patrick Quinn was closing in on the sack.
– NFL January 2, 2023
“I switched to scrambling drills, scrambling, like in practice,” Harris said, “and I was open and Kenny threw a good ball.”
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Pickett was running at 13.11 miles per hour when he released the ball, the NFL’s first touchdown pass on the run.
This allowed him to become the third rookie quarterback ever to win for the Ravens as well as being the first rookie in NFL history to catch a last-minute TD pass in consecutive games.
“I believe in him,” left guard Kevin Dotson said of Pickett. “I think, man, I think. I believed in him when he first got here, but those kinds of things definitely build trust, so I ride with him.”
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