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Kenny Pickett Breaks Embarassing Streak, Throws 2 TDs for First Time



Steelers Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett celebrates after a long run which was called back due to a penalty during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

LAS VEGAS — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has thrown for two touchdowns in a game for the first time in his NFL career.

Pickett tossed a pair of scoring strikes in Pittsburgh’s Week 3 Sunday Night Football game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Pickett had nine passing touchdowns in 15 games entering Sunday, but never two in one game. He did run for two scores in his first career game against the New York Jets last season.

Pickett found speedy wide receiver Calvin Austin III for a huge scoring strike in the first quarter, tossing deep ball down the middle of the defense that Austin ran under and then just kept going for a 72-yard strike.

In the third quarter, Pickett directed the Steelers’ best offensive drive of the season. After a Patrick Peterson interception got Pittsburgh the ball, Pickett threw a 17-yarder to George Pickens, found Jaylen Warren for a 16-yard gain on a screen pass, and hit Pat Freiermuth for a 14-yarder across the middle.

The Steelers effectively utilized play action throughout that drive, and after a Najee Harris run got them down to the 13-yard line, Matt Canada dialed up play action again.

The Las Vegas defense was fooled, as Pickett rolled left and tossed to a wide-open Freiermuth.

After the score, Pickett had completed 14 of 23 for 224 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and owned a 122.4 passer rating, which would be a career high if it holds. His previous high passer rating was 90.9 at Atlanta last season.

PFF: Kenny Pickett the Worst QB in NFL in Week 2