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Steelers Stat Pack: Despite 3 Picks, Kenny Pickett Gives Hope



Steelers Camp Kenny Pickett

The Steelers suffered their third straight loss with a 24-20 defeat at the hands of the New York Jets on Sunday. However, with Kenny Pickett replacing Mitch Trubisky, what do the stats say about the performance? What changed for the Jets in the fourth quarter offensively that allowed the Steelers defense to get shredded? Here are just a few key stats that showcase the game in a good light.

Kenny Pickett vs. Mitch Trubisky is….STARK

Kenny Pickett came into the game and threw three interceptions. Mitch Trubisky still could not get the offense going in the first half. However, Pickett drove the team down the field once in a fantastic display of efficiency. The stats seem to back up that Pickett was far more efficient than Trubisky. Here is their EPA per Play chart from Kevin Cole of PFF.

The rushing touchdowns absolutely drag Pickett up the chart. But it is not just that. EPA (Expected Points Added) is a stat that defines just how much value a player has to a team on any given play. Oftentimes, field position and down and distance are key factors. The fact that Pickett clocked in at 0.41 EPA/Play while Trubisky’s ranked all the way down at -0.47 EPA/Play means one of the quarterbacks was an actively instrumental benefit to the team while the other hurt the team.

One other thing that is interesting is that Pickett’s yards per attempt came in at a healthy 9.2 yards per attempt. Trubisky came into the game with a yards per attempt below five, and that did not climb much in this game. On all fronts, Pickett was the more efficient quarterback right away. That short sample size is why he should rightfully start moving forward.

Kenny Pickett Sets Two Records in One Game

It is always cool when a rookie can come in and set a record during the game. Well, Pickett decided he would set two instead. Pickett is the first quarterback in NFL history to have not one, but two rushing touchdowns in his debut according to Elias Sports Bureau. That puts him in a special category right away. Pickett is not a dynamic rusher, but he is a tough and willing one, and he showed that off.

Then, there is this whirlwind of a stat. In a few ways, that is a good thing for Pickett. He was on target, and every single pass he threw on Sunday was catchable. However, the three picks will sting Pickett in the box score for now. It is impressive that he flashed his accuracy that much early on and with consistency.

Steelers Get Pressure, But Can’t Finish

The Steelers’ defense only registered one sack on the day, but that does not mean Zach Wilson was not running for his life. In fact, he quite literally was for the most part. Pittsburgh racked up 23 pressures on 37 dropbacks according to SteelersNow’s charting of the game. Not only that, but Pittsburgh missed four would-be sacks due to missed tackles. That means they pressured Wilson on 62 percent of his dropbacks, but somehow only came away with one sack to show for it. That is a significant stat, and the Steelers must finish their sacks moving forward.

Offensive Line Surrenders First Sacks 

The Steelers’ offensive line had not allowed a sack throughout their first three weeks of the season. The sacks were either credited to Trubisky, Najee Harris, or Pat Freiermuth. However, that did change on Sunday as Kevin Dotson and Dan Moore Jr. allowed a sack each according to Pro Football Focus. That is still impressive for a Steelers offensive line that looked to be reeling at the end of the preseason. But instead, they have largely been steady. Now with Pickett seemingly ready to start, that will need to continue as a trend.

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