It wasn’t pretty. It took two — maybe three — quarters to really get going, but Kenny Pickett turned it on in the fourth quarter once again.
The Steelers trailed 16-13 to the Tennessee Titans early in the fourth quarter, and after the defense forced a punt, Pickett and the offense received the ball at their own 8-yard with a chance to take the lead. And of course, the unit drove 92 yards in just over five minutes to retake the lead.
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren did the heavy lifting — throughout much of the game (combining for 157 yards on the night) — but Pickett hit Diontae Johnson for a 32-yard gain on 3rd-and-6 for a crucial conversion. And he hit Johnson once again for a three-yard touchdown to retake the lead with just over four minutes left in the game.
It was Pickett’s seventh game-winning drive since the start of the 2022 season, which trails only Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in that timeframe.
— NFL (@NFL) November 3, 2023
Pickett completed 19-of-30 pass attempts (63.3%) for 160 yards and a touchdown — and another called back after it was determined that Steelers wideout George Pickens didn’t get two feet in in the end zone in the third quarter.
Obviously, the Steelers would like to see more consistency from Pickett — and the entire offense — throughout the course of an entire football game, but there’s no doubt Pickett has that clutch gene when the game is on the line. It’s about developing that consistency over the second half of the season now.
Through seven-and-a-half games this season, Pickett has completed 123-of-198 pass attempts (62.1%) for 1,1266 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions — adding a rushing touchdown. It hasn’t been an easy season for the Steelers offense, but there’s been flashes. It’s about continuing to progress this season.
After a strong preseason, there was an expectation that the Steelers offense would take a step this season, but it certainly hasn’t been easy through the first half of the season.
The Steelers lost a tough game last weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a game in which Pickett was knocked out of the game with a rib injury at the half, and it was a rebound performance against the Titans to stay in second place in the AFC North behind the Baltimore Ravens.
Pickett certainly needs to be able to establish a level of consistency throughout entire games and not just stretches when the game is on the line late. It feels like if the Steelers offense — Pickett in particular — is able to add consistency each week, the Steelers have a lot of potential to unlock.
He completed 245-of-389 pass attempts (63%) for 2,404 yards with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions (adding 237 rushing yards and three more touchdowns on the ground) as a rookie last season.
The Steelers have a long week off now, 10 days, to be exact, before the Green Bay Packers come to town on Nov. 12.