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‘Everyone Builds Off It’: Kenny Pickett Believes His First Drive Helped Lead To Win

Kenny Pickett saw his first NFL action in Saturday night’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, as he played the whole second half and led a game-winning drive. Pickett played well on his first drive, going 5-5 for 33 yards and a touchdown with a two-point conversion. He talked about the importance of getting off to a good start in his post-game press conference, via Steelers.com.

“You have a first drive like that, and it just builds, everyone builds off it. I think, all the guys that had their first action tonight really built of it, it was a good finish for us.” 

Pickett was aided in his first drive by an impressive 38-yard run by wide receiver Steven Sims, but he was impressive, finding open receivers and making plays. Having your first drive against real competition in the NFL go for a touchdown has to be a confidence builder, and as Pickett said, it helped the team build off it and led to the impressive game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Vaughns. 

It’s rare to see a rookie quarterback come out and start as quickly as Pickett did, but give credit to Matt Canada and the play calling for coming up with plays that created easy looks. His first throw was off play-action, and Pickett was able to find a wide-open Jace Sternberger. After that came the Sims run, and with the Steelers in plus territory, Pickett built confidence with short throws to Warren and a two-yard completion to Sims. Warren had three receptions, on the drive, including the three-yard touchdown reception. 

The best thing you can see out of a rookie quarterback is the ability to sustain drives and move the ball down the field, and that’s what Pickett did on the first drive. It didn’t need to be anything flashy, and he found the open man and helped the Steelers move the ball. In the end, Pittsburgh had eight more points on the board. 

For the most part, Pickett did a good job making the safe throw and hitting the open receiver. While that may have come at the cost of a few extra yards, developing his accuracy and ability to keep drives alive is important. He also used his legs a few times, running three times for 16 yards and picking up yards where they might not have been any available through the air. 

All in all, it was a solid performance out of Pickett, and it all goes back to that first drive. Being able to build confidence and put points on the board the way he did is crucial, and it surely helped him get in a rhythm and feel out the defense. 

Without the first drive going the way it did, Pickett may not have had the same performance and Pittsburgh may not have won. Luckily, it ended up being a really impressive scoring drive and sparked a nice performance for the rookie quarterback. 

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