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Kenny Pickett Climbs Five Spots In Latest QB Index Following Second Straight Game-Winning Drive

It’s hard to truly quantify what makes Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett special, but he just has that “it” factor that is extremely hard to identify in quarterbacks.

That “it” factor has been on display the last two weeks as the rookie quarterback has led the Steelers’ offense on back-to-back game-winning drives in the final minutes of games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens, keeping the Steelers in playoff contention.

Pickett’s heroics the last two weeks made him the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to lead a game-winning drive in back-to-back weeks, showing just how good he has been for the Steelers this season, especially in the post-Week 9 bye run the Steelers are currently on.

While the overall numbers haven’t been eye-popping down the stretch, Pickett is coming up clutch in key moments. He is the rising tide that lifts all boats in those weighty, late-game moments, which has helped keep the Steelers in playoff contention down the stretch.

Sunday night’s game-winning drive on Sunday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens on the road was more of the same from Pickett, and it was truly his coming-out party on national television. Knowing that, it’s no surprise that Pickett climbed five spots in the latest QB Index from NFL.com Around the NFL writer Marc Sessler Friday, sitting at No. 15 overall in the QB Index.

“Becoming the first rookie passer in NFL lore to fling final-minute, game-winning touchdowns in back-to-back starts, Pickett looks the part when it matters most,” Sessler writes regarding his ranking of Pickett at No. 15 overall. “On the game-deciding drive against Baltimore, he whipped a 20-yard laser to Pat Freiermuth, hit Steven Sims for 28, moved the chains on a fourth-and-1 sneak and evaded the arms of Jason Pierre-Paul to launch an on-the-move, game-winning touchdown to Najee Harris with 56 ticks on the clock. Pittsburgh’s voyage through a post-Big Ben wilderness didn’t last long.”

What Pickett has done in late-game moments in recent weeks in the NFL really isn’t all that surprising. That’s what he did in college at Pittsburgh over four seasons and five years. When the going gets tough and the moments get big, things slow down for him and he’s in his comfort zone.

He just has an unwavering amount of confidence that he never gets overwhelmed with the moment. He believes he can make every throw and can win every game when he steps between the white lines. He’s shown that’s the case in the last two weeks.

The move up from No. 20 to No. 15 saw Pickett pass the likes of Los Angeles’ Baker Mayfield, Philadelphia’s Gardner Minshew, placing himself in between New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton.

Though he still has a long way to go within the game from a development standpoint to become that true franchise quarterback, he is absolutely trending in the right direction and making impressive progress in recent weeks for the black and gold.

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