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Pickett Calls Long Drives ‘Dual-Edged Sword,’ Says They Leave Offense Open To Mistakes

The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled to put points on the board. Even when they sustain drives, they’re struggling to get more than a field goal out of their possessions. Today, the team had a 13-play drive, a 12-play drive, and a 15-play drive and ended the day with 13 points, as only one of those drives ended in a touchdown. They also had an eight-play drive that ended with a turnover. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett talked about the need for more explosive plays and explained why long drives aren’t always a good thing.

“When you’re on the field for 14 plays, you’re leaving yourself open to make mistakes, whether that’s physically, mentally,” Pickett said. “We need more explosive plays. We had opportunities today and didn’t connect on some, penalties again hurt us. When you’re going 14 plays, 16 plays, something’s gonna happen sooner or later,” he added in his postgame press conference via the team’s YouTube channel.

“It’s a dual-edged sword. It’s good to stay on the field and control the football and chew some clock up, but we gotta finish with points and if we’re not getting points, it’s really not doing us any good.”

Chewing up clock and controlling possession is a good thing, when you have a lead. With Pittsburgh trailing early and often this season, there has to be more of an emphasis on getting the ball downfield quickly and not dinking and dunking their way into their opponent’s territory. The Eagles today had one drive that landed them in the red zone, and they had 35 points. Getting to the red zone is ideal, but you want to finish those drives off with a touchdown, and the Steelers aren’t doing that. As Pickett said, the long drives can lead to mental mistakes, which we’ve seen with too many pre-snap penalties over the last few weeks.

I mean, at some point an NFL player should be beyond making mental mistakes in the red zone, but this is still a young offense that has to grow and develop, so there’s the tiniest bit of leeway to be had. The point here though is that this offense just has to start creating explosive plays. It’s not necessarily for a lack of trying, as there are attempts to push the ball downfield, but there’s a lack of execution with either a poor throw from Pickett, a bad route run or just general miscommunication. For this offense to start resembling an actual NFL offense, they just have to hit on some of those downfield shots.

Today, the Steelers saw what a good offense looks like with the undefeated Eagles pushing the ball downfield and hitting their shot plays. Philadelphia’s longest drive was 11 plays, and they put up 22 more points. With how this offense is operating now, they have to try and generate offense quickly and not let something happen during a long drive that leads to it stalling out or having to settle for a field goal. This team needs touchdowns, and they have to find a way to execute and hit some explosive plays.

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