2. Kenny Pickett's coming of his best game in a Steelers uniform
Pickett, Pittsburgh’s second-year signal-caller, had the best overall statistical game of his career in Sunday night’s victory over the Raiders. He finished the game with a career-best passer rating of 108.5, completing 16-of-28 passes for a season-high 235 yards and a career-high 2 TDs.
Contributing to his big game was a career-long 72-yard touchdown pass to the speedy Calvin Austin III, the second straight week that Pickett has connected with a Steelers’ receiver on a long scoring bomb. George Pickens, who leads the Steelers with 13 catches for 238 yards for the season, caught a 71-yard scoring pass from Pickett against the Browns.
Pickett could be in line to have an even bigger game this week. The offensive line has done a pretty nice job protecting him against the likes of Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Maxx Crosby. The Texans, who have just three sacks as a team in three games, have no such star power on the edge, although rookie Will Anderson will likely be classified as that in time.
However, Houston’s secondary has performed pretty well against the likes of Lamar Jackson and Trevor Lawrence in two of the first three weeks. Former Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson leads the Texans with one of the team’s two interceptions this year. He also has a team-high three passes defended.
The best way to set Pickett up for success will be to establish the running game again this week. The Texans have allowed a league-leading seven rushing touchdowns thus far and rank around the middle of the pack by allowing 4.3 yards per rushing attempt.
That’s good news for the likes of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, who combined for 94 of the team’s season-high 105 rushing yards in the win in Vegas. Harris led the way with 19 carries for 65 yards, the third consecutive game in which he had more rushing attempts than the game before. Warren chipped in with eight carries for 29 yards and also caught three passes for 23 yards.