HomeSportsSteelers Kenny Pickett expected to continue starting QB: Rookie hopes to build...

Steelers Kenny Pickett expected to continue starting QB: Rookie hopes to build record debut

While he would certainly trade it for a win, Kenny Pickett nevertheless made history on his regular season debut. picket, who is expected to start his first career when the Steelers travel to Buffalo on Sunday, he set two records in his regular-season debut against the Jets last weekend.

The Steelers’ first-round pick became the first quarterback in NFL history to run for two touchdowns during his debut (h/t Gerry Dulac of the Post-Newspaper). He also set an NFL record by throwing the most passes in a game (13) without one touching the ground, via ESPN stats and information.

Pickett replaced Mitch Trubisky to start the second half of Sunday’s game against the Jets. His 1-yard touchdown run gave the Steelers a 13-10 lead midway through the third quarter. His 2-yard score on Pittsburgh’s subsequent possession gave the home side a 10-point lead with 13:36 to play.

While the Steelers’ leadership seemed secure, the Jets finally gathered to spoil Pickett’s party. After Zach Wilson directed a scoring drive from Jets that narrowed their deficit to three points, New York took the lead for good on a score set up by Michael Carter II’s interception of Pickett on a pass intended for tight end Pat Freiermuth.

Pickett finished the game 102 yards on 10 of 13 passes. Pickett threw three interceptions, hence his NFL record of not having a pass on the ground. His first pick came on his first try, a deep throw to Chase Claypool who was stopped by Jordan Whitehead after Claypool failed to secure the pass. His third pick was on a Hail Mary to end the game.

It wasn’t perfect, but Pickett showed promise in his debut. He led the Steelers on arguably their best drive of the season yet, a 12-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in his second touchdown run. Pickett showed toughness on the drive when he completed an 18-yard strike to Freiermuth on a third-and-8 play, despite being ambushed by Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.

“It’s not difficult,” Pickett said afterwards when asked if he should take a throw under duress. “It’s in the job description. It is what it is. I’m a quarterback. That’s my job. So I said to those guys, I’ll stick with it. I don’t really care. I know she’s fine. It my job is to stand there and make it.”

Along with Freiermuth, Pickett has developed a quick rapport with fellow rookie George Pickens, who caught six passes for 102 yards on Sunday.

“I feel like the whole crowd cheered him on,” Pickens said of Pickett after the game. “We were already ready to go. It’s just the next guy. However, we were already ready.”

Although Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has not yet made the move official, it is clear that Pickett would need the support of his teammates to start in Buffalo on Sunday.

“He brought us a spark,” said Freiermuth, via 93.7 The Fan’s Josh Rowntree. “The stadium, the fans, us. He did a great job.”

“When he came in, we were just more efficient,” added Diontae Johnson. “You could see the energy. He played with swag. That makes us want to play for him. We have to make him better and prepare for next week.”

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