Stayin’ Alive: Kenny Pickett Leads Steelers to Another Late Drive to Beat Ravens, 16-13
BALTIMORE — Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett led his second consecutive game-winning scoring drive in the final minute as the Pittsburgh Steelers kept their improbable run to the playoffs alive with a 16-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The Steelers entered play on Sunday needing six games to all go their way over the last two weeks, including two of their own. They got wins from the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks to keep them alive entering play on Sunday Night Football.
But it looked like their miracle run was going to end when the Steelers trailed, 13-9 and had continued their season-long struggles in scoring in the red zone throughout the game.
Though Pittsburgh had a strong day running the football, by the 2-minute warning, they had only had four Chris Boswell field goal attempts to show for their efforts, and one of them missed.
But Pickett led the team on an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was capped off with a 10-yard pass to Najee Harris, with Pickett turning his back on the play and sprinting to his left to find time and finding Harris running alone along the left sideline.
Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley’s pass on a last-gasp final Ravens drive to seal the victory.
Pickett struggled throughout the day, and his final stat line is an unimpressive 15 of 27 for 168 yards. But after leading the Steelers to a go-ahead touchdown drive to save the season against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, he once again proved that he can be counted on in the clutch.
The Steelers rushing offense, meanwhile, had its best day of the season. Harris ran 22 times for 111 yards and a stellar 5.0 yards per carry average. Jaylen Warren added 12 carries for 76 as the Steelers out-rushed the Ravens, 198-120.
The Baltimore running attack got out to a hot start and seemed poised to repeat its success in the Ravens’ Week 14 win over the Steelers, but after halftime, the Steelers defense shut things down. The Ravens kicked a field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter, but then punted three straight times before Fitzpatrick’s interception.
The Steelers defense has allowed 12 total points in the second half of the last three games.
So the AFC Wild Card race will now come down to the final week of the season. The Steelers will need to beat the Cleveland Browns at home in Week 18 and also get wins from the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills to qualify for the postseason.