Kenny Pickett leads another Steelers comeback to keep playoffs in sight

BALTIMORE — Kenny Pickett clutched a football as he drove through the tunnel under M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night to beat the Baltimore Ravens 16-13 after a two-game winning streak to clinch a narrow playoff run for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I kept my hopes up. alive.

Not only did he stave off a postseason loss and Mike Tomlin’s first losing season as head coach, Pickett also got his first game ball given to him by the “Sunday Night Football” crew. rice field.

“I think you can probably send it to your parents and have them keep it at home.”

For the second week in a row, Pickett’s calm demeanor and accurate passing helped the Steelers (8-8) drive down the field and score a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute left to complete their comeback. Pickett completed 5 of 6 attempts for 64 yards and converted two short third downs on sneaks to drive the Steelers 80 yards and 10 yards in 3:20. capped Harris with a TD.

Pickett went 4-for-3, including a touchdown, on a throw that traveled at least 10 yards downfield on that final drive. An ESPN Stats & Information study found that he was 3/7 on such throws before that drive.

“I can’t say enough about our young quarterback,” Tomlin said Sunday night. I’m ready to be, and I’m happy to meet a young man.

By Sunday, the Steelers were 0-7 in double digits.

In a complementary run game that gained 198 rushing yards, Pickett finished the night completing 15 of 27 attempts for 168 yards with one touchdown. He is his third rookie quarterback to win with Baltimore, after Mitch Trubisky (2017) and Jake Plummer (1997).

A week after finding George Pickens for a go-ahead touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders with 46 seconds left, Pickett connected with Harris on third down with 56 seconds left when he got out of the pocket and escaped Baltimore pressure. I looked downfield. Pickett threw a pass to Harris, who scrambled.

“He did a great job extending and slipping through the linebackers,” Pickett said. “I just wanted to extend it until they had a little more freedom.”

An Elias Sports Bureau study found that Pickett became the first rookie to throw a go-ahead TD in the final minute of regulation in back-to-back games since at least the 1970 merger.

“We see Moxie at quarterback,” said outside linebacker TJ Watt. was not surprised.”

After coming in for a closing-game winning drive a week earlier, the Steelers offense had confidence in the young quarterback when they took the field by four with 4:16 remaining. Kicker Chris Boswell converted three field goal attempts early in the game to keep the Steelers in attacking distance, but missed a 48-yarder in the second quarter and scored. gave them a 6-3 lead.

Still, the Steelers had no doubt of scoring as they took the field for their final drive.

Left tackle Dan Moore Jr. said of the huddle on the final drive, “There was energy. It was like you were confident. You knew you were going to get down there and score.” .

The Steelers offense believed from the moment Pickett took over as quarterback. A come-from-behind victory in the 4th quarter reinforced that conviction.

Tight end Pat Freiermuth said, “I can win with him and he’ll show up in the big moments.” “We never questioned it, but seeing him deliver those big moments and the players stepping up and especially the lines…and the receivers making plays and stuff like that. I see you have all the confidence in the world.”

The offense’s belief in the quarterback is ambivalent, and the Steelers will be key as they enter Week 18 with a win over the Cleveland Browns, coupled with losses by the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. play off.

“The confidence I had in myself is showing up on the field. I think the players are starting to feel that, which is always a good thing,” Pickett said. “When you go into the huddle and see how confident people are, you know they have a lot of faith in you as a quarterback. When it’s there, you definitely have a shot.So this is a step in the right direction.There’s a lot of work left to do.”

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