With the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Pittsburgh quarterback, Kenny Pickett. This offseason marked the end of an era for the Steelers as Ben Roethlisberger, who has been their starter since 2004, rode off into the sunset and announced his retirement.
Pickett is who the franchise hopes can be their long-term answer at the position as he has some big shoes to fill. Roethlisberger will assuredly don a gold jacket someday and be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Pittsburgh would love it if Kenny Pickett one day did the same, but he has a long way to go before that. But, his career is off to a very solid start as he has the team playing winning football in recent weeks. Pickett has gone 6-5 this season as a starter, with turnovers being the barometer for his success.
When he has thrown an interception, the Steelers are 1-4. Not counting the game against the Baltimore Ravens when he was knocked out of the contest early because of a concussion, the Steelers are 5-1 in games that he doesn’t throw an interception.
That improved ball security has been a big reason that Pittsburgh has turned its season around. At 8-8, they have a shot at making the postseason after those hopes seemed dashed courtesy of a 2-6 start.
Pickett has looked better with each passing game, making timely throws to keep the offense moving and score when they are needed most. In the last two weeks, the former Panther has saved his best for last. Against the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Eve and Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, Pickett has led game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.
According to OptaSTATS, Kenny Pickett is the first rookie to throw a game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter in back-to-back weeks in NFL history.
That is an impressive feat as Pickett clearly has more room to grow. But, he already possesses that clutch gene, coming up with big plays in crunch time to help the Steelers snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
On the season, he has led three fourth-quarter comeback drives. If he can lead the team to victory one more time in Week 18 against the Cleveland Browns, he will not only put them in a position to clinch a playoff spot with some help but extend Mike Tomlin’s record streak. Tomlin has gone an NFL-record 15 consecutive seasons without a losing record to start his head coaching career and it didn’t look like it would reach 16 just a few weeks ago.