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Kenny Pickett Lists His Three Favorite Plays Of Rookie Season

After an eventful rookie season, Kenny Pickett had three plays that stuck out above the rest. And they probably aren’t hard to guess. Sitting down with Steelers.com’s Dale Lolley, Pickett outlined his three most memorable moments of the year.

“I think the ones to George and Najee, obviously the two-minute drives are always special,” Pickett said. “Those two stand out the most for me.”

He’s of course referring to his game-winning scores to WR George Pickens in Week 16 against the Las Vegas Raiders and to RB Najee Harris the following week against the Baltimore Ravens. Two must-have plays the Steelers needed to keep their postseason hopes alive even if ultimately, they fell just short of that goal.

Pickett’s drive against the Raiders was special for a lot of reasons. It was the first “wow” moment of his young career. Christmas Eve, the anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, honoring Franco Harris days after his tragic and sudden death. A game that meant a lot professionally and personally. Trailing 10-6 with 2:55 left, Pickett took the offense on a ten-play, 76 yard drive and found Pickens over the middle, a dart between two Raiders’ defenders for the go-ahead score.

Until that drive, Pickett had struggled against the Raiders. But like the man he was replacing, Ben Roethlisberger, Pickett was at his best when it meant the most and he got the job done with a strong two-minute drill.

His performance in the same situation the following week was even more impressive. His overall showing against the Baltimore Ravens, on the road in a primetime slot, was arguably his best game of the season. Like the Raiders’ game, the Steelers were down late and Pickett drove the offense 80 yards. He made plays on the move, threw a laser to WR Steven Sims over the middle for 24 yards, and scrambled to hit Harris along the left sideline for the game-winning touchdown.

Steelers’ players are defined by what they do against the arch-rival Ravens and Pickett made a great first impression (he left early in the Week 14 meeting due to a concussion). And a hat tip to Brian Flores, who offered helpful advice on how to run a two-minute drill.

Pickett also included his first career touchdown as one of his top three moments of 2022 for reasons that went beyond simply finding the end zone.

“My first touchdown, my grandfather was able to see it before he passed the following week. So that was special. He always talked about being able to watch me in the NFL so I was happy to get that.”

Pickett’s first NFL action came in Week Four. Replacing Mitch Trubisky at halftime, Pickett snuck over the goal line from one yard out midway through the third quarter, one of two rushing touchdowns he’d have in the game.

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh couldn’t hang on for the win, blowing a fourth quarter lead to the Jets, a loss that proved costly by year’s end.

For Pickett, he’ll have plenty of chances to make more plays and moments in 2023. He enters the offseason not as a backup or quarterback battle but as the unquestioned starter. He and this offense will look to build upon where it left off at the end of this past season though they still need to generate more explosive plays and ultimately put more points on the board.

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