'I like the way I'm trending'

The play that beat the Ravens was the product of improvisation, but admittedly one rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett shouldn't have tried to make.

"I should have stayed in the pocket a little bit more," Pickett maintained today regarding the 10-yard touchdown pass he threw to Najee Harris on third-and-8 from the Ravens' 12-yard line with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter and the Steelers trailing, 13-9, on Sunday night in Baltimore. "I drifted too much on that."

When Pickett drifted, he inadvertently made pressure a factor on the play.

But from there, his instincts and those of running back Najee Harris took over.

"I just kinda shrugged and got out of it and then just kept my eyes downfield," Pickett continued. "'Naj' did a great job of adjusting his route and getting in the end zone."

For Pickett, such plays are a part of his on-the-job training.

He's becoming more proficient at exiting the pocket and making plays with his arm while using his legs.

But such plays outside the pocket aren't necessarily calculated.

"I don't pre-plan, it's just kind of a feel thing," Pickett explained. "I feel like I have pressure or you have that clock in your head where you got to your third progression, it's not there, it's time to go. The pocket collapses fast at this level.

"I just want to continue to improve getting the ball out of my hand and when I'm extending just keep my eyes downfield and try and find guys open."

Finding Harris helped allow Pickett to become the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to have a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter in back-to-back games.

The touchdown pass was Pickett's sixth of the season.

He's also thrown nine interceptions, but just one of those has occurred in his last seven starts.

Pickett's passer rating of 76.5 ranks 31st in the NFL.

But he's won five of the last six games in which he's played longer than two series and has gone 6-5 overall as a starter.  

"I'm growing every week, that's the positive," Pickett assessed. "There's things that I'm learning from and there's things that are on tape now that I wasn't doing early in the season, so I'm continuing to grow. It's not going to happen overnight. I like the way I'm trending. I like the way I'm improving and seeing things on field, taking what I'm seeing on tape and bringing it to the field and playing with a little bit more anticipation than I was earlier in the season but I think it's definitely a long journey. I don't think you're done getting better until you hang 'em up.

"I'm gonna continue to improve every week and just be the best player I can be and try and get to the final result as fast as possible."