Steelers QB report card: Kenny Pickett runs wild in win
Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett did just enough to get the win against the Saints this week. Here is how he turned things around in the second half.
The Steelers picked up their third win of the season on Sunday, defeating the New Orleans Saints 20-10. The offense was better than it has been maybe all season, finishing with 379 total yards and a season-high 217 rushing yards.
The run game was the story on offense, but Kenny Pickett managed to guide the offense down the field with his arm and legs and extend multiple drives. Here is how Pickett fared in his second career win.
Steelers Kenny Pickett bounces back from rough start
Kenny Pickett’s first pass of the game was a microcosm of what his first half against the Saints would look like. He missed George Pickens coming across the field off of play action, leaving it a bit behind him. For the rest of the first half, Pickett struggled to deliver accurate passes beyond 10 yards. It felt like his timing was off consistently on the longer developing routes. He also took a few sacks that could have been avoided. Still, the offense managed 10 points and had a great start on the ground.
Things changed in the second half, as Pickett started using his legs more right away with a 23-yard scramble on the Steelers first play of the half. That drive stalled and ended with a missed field goal, but things were looking better.
On the next drive, Pickett put together an 11-play, 83-yard field goal drive that included a 36-yard deep shot to Diontae Johnson. After a pick by safety Damontae Kazee, the Steelers took advantage and scored on a QB sneak by Pickett. Now up 20-10, Levi Wallace picked off Andy Dalton to ice the game.
Should Steelers fans be encouraged by Pickett’s day?
Pickett finished 18 of 30 for 199 yards passing to go along with 51 yards and a score on the ground. Most notable was the lack of turnovers after having at least one in every game he has finished this season. That is definitely a good sign moving forward, but the lack of explosive passing plays is still a big concern.
Outside of the big play to Diontae Johnson, his only completion of over 20 yards was on a short pass that Jaylen Warren did most of the work on. That will need to change if this offense is going to take another step forward, but this game was at least an improvement. Hopefully, this will be the start of a much better future for Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense.