Steelers QB report card: Fourth quarter Kenny Pickett strikes again

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers pulled off a come-from-behind victory on the road against the Rams Sunday afternoon, notching their first regular season win in Los Angeles. They did so in part thanks to an explosive fourth quarter on offense after a stagnant first three quarters. 209 of their 300 total yards came after halftime, as well as 21 of their 24 points.

For what seems like the millionth time under Matt Canada, the offense seemed to be in hibernation until the game was truly on the line. This team in general has been defined by either winning ugly or losing handedly for a few years now, and this year has continued this trend. Kenny Pickett personifies this better than any other player on the roster, and that was put on display against the Rams.

Kenny Pickett saves his best for the fourth quarter

Coming off the bye week without a change at offensive coordinator, the Steelers desperately needed to silence the critics calling for Matt Canada’s job. How did they respond? Four punts and a short-field goal drive in the first half. The #FireMattCanada tweets were surely being thrown out left and right as the Steelers offense continued its downward spiral.

Kenny Pickett didn’t do much to help himself, failing to avoid pressure and at least a few times making things worse by holding the ball or spinning into the rush. He had a few good completions to Diontae Johnson and George Pickens but otherwise was ineffective. The run game at least showed some life and helped keep the offense from accomplishing nothing in the first half.

Then came the start of the third quarter, where thanks to a T.J. Watt interception the offense had a short field to work with. They punched it in three plays later on a sneak by Pickett to take a 10-9 lead. The Rams answered back with a touchdown of their own and held a 17-10 lead entering the fourth quarter.

That’s when Pickett and the offense kicked it into another gear, scoring on their first two possessions of the quarter and icing the game late with a controversial fourth-down conversion.

Pickett was immaculate late, completing his last 10 passes for 140 yards. Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris may have scored the touchdowns late, but Pickett was the biggest factor down the stretch. For an offense that has scored over 20 points in just nine games since the start of last season (not counting defense/special teams scores), that fourth quarter was a huge outlier.

Can it ever become the norm? I wouldn’t bet on it. But for now, you can’t help but be happy with their showing this week.

Grade: B-

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