Kenny Pickett may have led a comeback drive against the Raiders on Christmas Eve, but the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie leaves much to be desired.
In a historic game that marked the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception and took place just days after the passing of Hall of Fame running back, Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers fans no doubt wanted to see their team emerge victorious on this memorable night. However, the manner in which they did win wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.
The Steelers battled it out with the Las Vegas Raiders in what proved to be an ice bowl slugfest. The defenses got the best of each quarterback as turnovers proved to be huge, while neither offense did a good job of consistently moving the chains or putting points on the board.
This eventually resulted in a 13-10 Steelers win. Though the end result is typically all that matters, I was more interested in the means to an end, in this case. More specifically, I don’t think we saw enough from rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett, in this contest.
Kenny Pickett still has much to prove to Steelers
I wasn’t discouraged by everything that Pickett did. I thought he made some really nice throws in stride to the sticks, and he converted on several key third downs. His performance was certainly salvaged when he marched his team down the field for a game-winning touchdown drive that was capped off with a strike over the middle of the endzone to George Pickens.
But where was the offense before that point? For much of the game, Pickett was sporadic with his passes or conservative to a fault. This resulted in him throwing for under 6.0 yards per attempt up until the final drive. It was also a little discouraging to not see him take any shots down the field.
Sure, you can argue that this is all part of the game plan. The team wants to protect their rookie quarterback by running the football in a cold weather, primetime game, and I get that. But that doesn’t mean that we need to be satisfied with everything we witnessed from Pickett on Christmas Eve.
On more than one occasion, Pickett had balls sail over the head of his intended target. This was the coldest game that he has ever played in, and you just can’t help but wonder if his small hands had anything to do with his difficulty slinging the rock in these frigid weather conditions.
Obviously, things could have been much worse, but against the NFL’s 25th-ranked defense, the Steelers managed just 3 points in the first 3 quarters and had 6 total points up until 46 seconds remaining in regulation.
In the end, Pickett finished with a mere 81.6 passer rating thanks to his pedestrian 6.3 yards per attempt with 1 touchdown and 1 interception, per ESPN stats. While I do think he played well on the final drive, the overall performance wasn’t what I had hoped it would be.
I know that a win is a win, but I would rather have seen the Pittsburgh Steelers emerge victorious because Kenny Pickett carried the team — not just see him put one touchdown drive together late in the game. Even with the comeback win, I think it’s safe to say that Pickett still has plenty to prove to this team.