Kenny Pickett is finally getting it. Pickett isn’t lighting up the stat sheet or generating a highlight film for the ages, but he’s making strides toward becoming a great NFL quarterback with each passing week.
He completed 20 of 28 passes for 174 yards and a passer rating of 87.5 on Monday night, but it wasn’t about the stats. Pickett appeared poised and decisive, making the critical plays to keep scoring drives rolling.
Pickett’s ability to manoeuvre the pocket, escape when required, and consistently find targets downfield for critical completions was most noteworthy.
Pickett’s movement and athleticism are exactly what a rookie quarterback needs to overcome a lack of consistent protection.
Pickett went out and won the game
Again, his numbers aren’t spectacular, and he’s unlikely to win any honours, but those who watched the game Monday night will likely agree: Pickett went out and won the game (with the help of a number of teammates).
The Pittsburgh Steelers have found their future connection. Pickett and George Pickens will put up a lot of yardage in Pittsburgh in the coming years. Monday night was confirmation of their ability, as they concluded with three completions for 57 yards, but it was so much more.
Pickett’s 35-yard ball to Pickens in the first half necessitated the young receiver’s latest highlight-reel catch, as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers first touchdown of the night.
The most important connection didn’t make the highlight reel, but it was instrumental in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ decisive fourth-quarter touchdown, thanks to a third-and-9 completion in which Pickett slid left to avoid pressure, flipped his hips forward, and threw a perfectly placed pass to Pickett, who made an excellent diving grab for 13 yards and a fresh set of downs.
Eight plays later, Benny Snell scored from 2 yards out to give Pittsburgh a 24-17 lead, which was only made official after Pickett scrambled and found Pickens in the end zone for the two-point convert. The volume will rise in the future, but it is clear that these two have a particular bond.
Indianapolis’ offensive problems resurface. When it comes to processing and delivering passes under pressure, Matt Ryan appears to be past his prime, and the Indianapolis Colts’ current offensive line isn’t helping matters.
Ryan is obviously uneasy when dropping to pass
Ryan is obviously uneasy when dropping to pass, which disrupts his decision-making (including the critical split-second when he could deliver a pass instead of taking a sack) and leads to sacks. Pittsburgh had three of them on Monday night and nearly forced a turnover when one of them resulted in a Ryan fumble.
While we’re on the subject, a fumble on the goal line — which was most certainly Jonathan Taylor’s mistake, even if the official scorer blamed Ryan — cost the Indianapolis Colts, who are battling terribly to produce over four quarters, simply cannot afford to make them.
Add in Ryan’s interception early in the game, and you have a confluence of errors that proved decisive against a club the Indianapolis Colts could have easily defeated.