Steelers News

George Pickens Scores First NFL TD, But Tomlin Blames ‘Contour Of The Coverage’ For Lack Of 2nd-Half Targets

The young rookie has been talked up ever since he was drafted and branded as a first-round talent in the second round—which indeed very well may be true. He has shown flashes of that talent throughout the Steelers’ time on the football field, including the practice field, but we’ve been seeing it more and more in the games that actually count.

Sunday night marked his first NFL touchdown, coming off the arm of fellow rookie, first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett, which for him was just the second touchdown pass of his career. Pickens showed supreme effort to make sure that he had both feet down before using his arm to brace his fall with possession of the football.

Pickens led the Steelers in the first half with four receptions on four targets for 47 yards, and of course the touchdown, putting him near the pace to record the second 100-yard game of his career with another strong second half.

Of course, then the entire third quarter came and went without him seeing a single target. He did manage to draw an illegal contact penalty on a play in the middle of the fourth quarter, but was not targeted on the throw. He finally received his fifth target with under six minutes to go, another catch for nine yards.

And then he was targeted again on the next play to pick up the first down. And then that was it. Two targets in all of the second half, less than a minute apart, and absent for the remainder of the 29 minutes.

“It just depends on what the contour of the coverage is”, head coach Mike Tomlin said about the rookie receiver not being overly involved in the second half. “We’re collective. We’ve got a group of capable playmakers, and sometimes coverage and the contour of the coverage dictates where the ball goes”.

The touchdown was a big play at the time, as you might imagine for an offense that has had so much difficulty getting into the end zone, but the touchdown pulled the Steelers to within a field goal. The Dolphins scored a touchdown on their opening drive, so the offense had never even taken the field trailing by fewer than seven points.

But that was all the scoring there would be for the game. They took a 16-10 halftime deficit into the locker room and that’s where the game would remain. They had chances late in the fourth quarter, but they resulted in turnovers instead of points. Now, I’m not saying throwing to Pickens more would have magically changed that. But he’s a proven playmaker already at this point, as his first NFL touchdown showed.

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