Steelers Kenny Pickett mounts game-winning drive vs Ravens
The Pittsburgh Steelers keep their playoff hopes alive in a pivotal win over the Baltimore Ravens. Here’s why Kenny Pickett deserves praise.
Talk about the stars aligning for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17. This morning, Mike Tomlin’s team was given a 3 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. However, before the clock struck midnight on New Year’s eve, the Steelers skyrocketed to a 15 percent chance of a playoff berth.
Pittsburgh’s hopes were kept alive thanks to the Patriots beating the Dolphins during the early slate and the Seahawks trampling the Jets in the late afternoon window. However, the Steelers needed to take care of business on their end, and they delivered just in the nick of time.
This was a slugfest by the very definition straight from the gate. The Steelers and Ravens did their best to pound the ball down each others’ throats — knowing that the toughest team was going to prevail on Sunday Night Football.
Pittsburgh ran the ball incredibly well in this contest as Najee Harris played with his hair on fire and Jaylen Warren offered a spark in a sizeable role off the bench. Collectively, this unit combined for 198 yards on 41 attempts (4.3 yards per carry), according to ESPN stats.
Unfortunately, this Impressive running game didn’t translate to points, as the Steelers trailed 13-6 heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when Kenny Pickett stepped in.
Kenny Pickett deserves credit for Steelers comeback win
There are many players we can offer a pat on the back to for their performance against the Ravens. Pittsburgh’s defense was pretty stout and they really tightened things up in the second half, while the running game was thoroughly impressive. However, I think Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback deserves the game ball for the win.
Pickett narrowly missed on some big plays all game. Johnson dropped a beautiful ball on the sideline and didn’t get his feet in bounds for a massive play deep down the field. A pretty play to George Pickens was also brought back when it was determined that the rookie receiver had stepped out of bounds.
Despite some bad luck, Kenny Pickett wasn’t phased. Just like against the Raiders on Christmas Eve, he was electric on the final drive of the game as he mounted an 11-play, 80-yard game-winning touchdown drive. The drive was capped off with an impressive move by Pickett to get outside the pocket and drop the ball over the shoulder of the defender to hit Najee Harris in the endzone for the score.
Pickett’s box score numbers were nothing to write home about — nobody should argue against that. The Steelers quarterback finished the game by completing 15 of 27 passes for just 168 yards and a touchdown (taking two sacks in the process). However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Pickett made some big-time throws in this game, showed poise under pressure, and had an impressive ability to deliver an accurate pass while being flushed out of the pocket. In the end, this was good enough for the Steelers to win a 16-13 ballgame in a do-or-die situation.
I’m not about to get all worked up about Pickett’s performance, but this was his second straight comeback victory, and he has looked much improved since the bye. This is a great way for the Steelers rookie to start the new year, and we hope it’s a sign of things to come. Pittsburgh is now very much alive in the playoff race entering the final week of the 2022 season.