Steelers QB report card: Kenny Pickett steals the show in debut
The Steelers trio of QBs finally got their chance at playing real snaps against an opposing defense. Here’s why fans should be happy with the results.
After months of discussion, fans finally got to see the Steelers new (and old) QBs have the opportunity to show what they can do in their preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The trio of Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Kenny Pickett all showed they were very prepared for their first audition to be the next starting QB, leading the Steelers to 32-25 victory.
That being said, what did we learn from their first impressions? Let’s dive into each of their performances.
Mitch Trubisky looks the part in Steelers debut
Trubisky predictably was named the starter heading into the week, and his first appearance showed off the skill-set the Steelers were hoping to see. He went 4/7 passing for 63 yards on the day, including a nice throw on the run for a TD to Gunner Olszewski on his first drive. He also showed off his mobility on a broken sack that he managed to pick up four yards on.
His only misses were a well-covered deep ball and two throws under heavy pressure. Overall, he showed really good poise and quick decision-making. Those were his two biggest areas of concern up to this point in his career, so seeing him do well in those areas is a great start. It was only two series, but hard to find any fault in what he did in his first action as a Steeler.
Mason Rudolph makes throw of the day for Steelers
Rudolph is the lone QB on the roster with experience with this offense, so him playing well overall against mostly backups shouldn’t be a surprise. He went 9/15 for 93 yards and a TD, but it was a bit of an up-and-down day for him. He started the day with a sack-fumble (not really his fault, however) before quickly lofting a beautiful pass to rookie sensation George Pickens in the back corner of the endzone for a score.
He also made the worst decision of the day when he threw the ball right to Seattle safety Josh Jones, who luckily dropped the interception. He also nearly threw a pick at the goal line in the 2nd quarter. His worst missed throw was on a deep ball to Pickens, where he didn’t keep the ball in bounds to give him a chance to make a play. It was a solid day all things considered, but Rudolph will need to be better than that to have a shot at starting.
Kenny Pickett has perfect ending in Steelers debut
Steelers fans made it very clear how excited they were to see Kenny Pickett as soon as he stepped on the field in the 3rd quarter, and he did not disappoint. His first drive saw him start 5/5 with a 3-yard score to running back Jaylen Warren.
Pickett went on to start 10/10 on admittedly short passes primarily, but he was very poised and accurate. He also made several plays with his legs to avoid negative plays, showing off the mobility that made him dangerous at Pitt. He finished 13-15 for 94 yards and two TDs, including a perfect throw on an out route to Tyler Vaughns for the game-winning score.
As great as the stats look, Pickett was not perfect. He took a few bad sacks, including one on 4th down late in the game. Luckily the defense got him the ball right back and he ultimately won the game, but it’s something he will need to clean up. He also needs to remember to slide (not fake slide) when giving himself up, a minor thing but something I want to see. Still, it’s hard to imagine a better way to start your career in Pittsburgh.