How Kenny Pickett looked in preseason debut: Highlights & more to know as Steelers rookie QB leads game-winning TD drive

Steelers fans, who were at Acrisure Stadium on Saturday night for Pittsburgh’s first preseason game of 2022, had to wait a while to see Kenny Pickett make his NFL debut.

Mitchell Trubisky started as quarterback, as expected, and the free-agent acquisition played two series. After that, Mike Tomlin turned to veteran Mason Rudolph and let him play the rest of the first half.

Pickett finally took over the field at 10:37 in the third quarter. He was greeted by loud cheers and “Kenny!” chants.

The hype may have intimidated other players, but Pickett had no problem. He led a scoring streak in his first series and also provided late-game heroics in the Steelers’ 32-25 win over the Seahawks.

Pickett’s debut was rock solid and should give Pittsburgh fans hope for the future. The Sporting News reports on his first game action as a member of the Steelers.

MORE: Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky? Breakdown of the Steelers’ QB fight

Highlights from Kenny Pickett’s Steelers debut

Pickett’s first drive was nearly perfect. He moved the Steelers 75 yards in just under four minutes and often displayed his best attribute: accuracy.

Pickett completed all five of his passing attempts in the series for 33 yards. He capped the drive by delivering a touchdown strike while heading to run back Jaylen Warren.

The rookie’s completion streak lasted a while. Pickett completed his first 10 passes as he showed a knack for finding open receivers. He read the field very well and thrived in the pocket. He also found success in game action, including his first throw of the game.

However, there was one play-action pass that Pickett didn’t execute well. On the fourth and 1 with 1:23 in the game and a 25-25 tie, Pickett tried to get away from Seahawks freshman Boye Mafe but couldn’t. He failed to clear a pass and was dismissed on an 8-yard loss.

However, Pickett was able to make up for this mistake. The Steelers’ defense got him the ball back, and from there he used his mobility to put Pittsburgh within field goal range with a couple of scrambles.

MORE: Steelers’ Mike Tomlin explains why Trubisky leads the QB contest

As the clock ticked down, Pickett found Tyler Vaughns open on the right touchline. He delivered yet another strike. Vaughns then eluded his defenseman for a 24-yard touchdown with three seconds remaining.

Pickett finished 13 of 15 for 98 yards and two touchdowns. He added 16 yards on three rushes.

He didn’t create many chances in the field, but he showed accuracy and ball placement at a high level. He also didn’t turn the ball over, which is a huge accomplishment for a rookie.

Tomlin confirmed in his post-game press conference that he was pleased with Pickett’s performance.

You know he moved his group,” Tomlin said. β€œHe played situational football; he showed a competitive spirit; a lot of good things to build on from a first performance standpoint.”

Pickett backed up Tomlin’s claim during the offseason that he’s pro-ready, which will surely help him in the battle for the starting job. He will now be looking to climb the depth chart and earn first-half replays for the Steelers’ game against the Jaguars in week two of preseason.

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