Ben Roethlisberger had his most recent edition of his podcast Footbahlin air yesterday where he and Spence talked about the fallout of the Steeler’s most recent victory against the Baltimore Ravens and QB Kenny Pickett’s performance.
When Roethlisberger was told about Pickett’s impressive stat of being the only rookie QB to have consecutive game-winning drives in back-to-back weeks, he credited Pickett’s resolve and ability to come up in the clutch when the team needed him to.
“That’s huge,” Roethlisberger said on his podcast Footbahlin which aired on YouTube. “Why would they keep a stat on fourth quarter overtime wins, comebacks, fourth quarter wins if it wasn’t a big deal? Because the pressure’s on. I used to joke at one point, I was up there pretty high in the all the all-time list because I would stink for three quarters, but it’s true. You can play awful football and then find a way to do it in the fourth quarter. That’s what people want to see. That’s what teams want to see. Owners, coaches, the GMs, fans. When it’s crunch time, do you want the ball, or do you not want the ball?”
Pickett has been clutch since the team’s bye week, helping the Steelers take a lead in the fourth quarter against the Colts on Monday Night Football and has engineered consecutive game-winning drives against the Raiders and Ravens, leading the offense down the field late in the fourth quarter to take the lead and secure the win for Pittsburgh.
His stat lines in recent weeks haven’t been gaudy by any stretch of the imagination, but just like Ben said, Pickett is finding a way to get the job done. We can go back to the beginning of Ben’s career where the offense wasn’t putting up explosive numbers in the passing game and relied more on the running game and defense, much like how the Steelers are winning games this season. The offense wouldn’t look great to start the game, but Roethlisberger managed to turn it on when the team needed it most, leading the offense down the field to score in the deciding moments of the game.
Pickett undoubtedly needs to progress as a passer in terms of his pocket presence, red zone efficiency, and make more explosive plays down the field. Those things should continue to develop over time, but one trait he does have is poise to stay calm in the crucial moments and lead the offense. That’s an intangible trait that franchises search for in quarterback prospects, but often miss trying to find when focusing on the physical traits. Pickett isn’t the most gifted passer and will never have the deep ball ability of Ben Roethlisberger, but he has shown us he is a gamer when the pressure is on, having that innate ability to turn it up in those waiting moments.