Kenny Pickett Sets NFL Rookie Record in Win over Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is starting to develop a knack for coming up in the clutch, just as his predecessor Ben Roethlisberger did so often throughout his 18-year Hall of Fame career. In the Steelers’ 16-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday night, Pickett became the first rookie in NFL history to have a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter in back-to-back games. That’s it, only Pickett has accomplished this feat.
“It’s just confidence that I’ve always had in myself is showing up on the field. I think guys are starting to feel that,“ Pickett said about his back-to-back late game-winning touchdown drives.
Trailing 13-9 with 4:16 remaining and the Steelers’ playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Pickett needed to lead his unit 80 yards down the field for a touchdown. Against a defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown at home in the last 15 quarters, the longest streak in the NFL since the 2005 Chicago Bears. Talk about ice in your veins.
Pickett capped the 11-play, 80-yard drive with a spectacular 10-yard touchdown pass to Najee Harris on third-and-8 to give the Steelers a 16-13 lead with 56 seconds left. Pickett completed a 20-yard pass to Pat Freiermuth and a 28-yard strike to Steven Sims Jr. to set the Steelers up at the Ravens’ 22-yard line. The completion to Sims was probably Pickett’s best throw of the year. He really thread the needle.
This THROW by Kenny Pickett 🤯 pic.twitter.com/ggmF5QHU5r
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) January 2, 2023
In Week 7, the Steelers lost to the Miami Dolphins because of two fourth-quarter interceptions by Pickett. That’s not the case anymore. Pickett is coming up big in the weighty moments. He’s showing real growth.
“Kid is growing before our eyes,” team captain Cam Heyward said. “It’s really awesome to be (24) and be a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You’ve gotta love the way he’s leading that offense.”
Mike Tomlin also gave praise to his rookie quarterback for his gutsy and gritty performance.
“Can’t say enough about our young QB,” Tomlin said. “He smiles in the face of it. He’s always ready to be that guy in the moments that we need him to be that guy. And it’s just good to see the young guy.”
Pickett is just the third rookie quarterback to win in Baltimore, joining Mitch Trubisky and Jake Plummer. Pulling off a game-winning drive against a division rival in primetime, and with the season on the line? The Steelers really might have something in Kenny Pickett.