Skip to main content

One to grow on

It wasn't quite John Elway against the Browns, Joe Montana against the Bengals or Ben Roethlisberger against the Cardinals, but it was a start.

Not just for Kenny Pickett, but a young Steelers' offense that continues to evolve.

"Kenny, obviously, is the quarterback, and did a good job," offensive coordinator Matt Canada assessed today of the drive that beat the clock and the Raiders on Christmas Eve. "But we had a lot of guys, did a nice job taking what was there. 'Naj' (running back Najee Harris) had a couple good catches in that drive that got us where we needed to be, a big one to (tight end) Pat (Freiermuth) and, obviously, the touchdown to (wide receiver) George (Pickens).

"All those guys are growing and improving. You got two guys that are second-year players and two guys that are first-year players but it's a drive that we all expect and we need to have happen, but certainly happy that it did."

The Steelers trailed the Raiders, 10-6, when they got the ball back with 2:55 remaining in regulation last Saturday night.

They were 76 yards away from the touchdown they needed to win the game and had failed to score one of those on their previous nine possessions.

This time, they found the end zone with 46 seconds to spare.

Harris caught three passes for 30 yards, including a 19-yard gain to the Raiders' 24-yard line with one minute and change remaining.

Freiermuth hauled in three receptions for 31 yards, including a 17-yard grab to the Raiders' 47.

Pickens finished it with a 14-yard catch for the go-ahead touchdown, Pickett's seventh completion on nine attempts on the march.

Pickett finished the drive with 75 yards passing and 1 yard rushing, a fourth-and-1 sneak for a first down with 55 seconds to play.

Clutch performances such as those can resonate, in Canada's estimation.

"I think, obviously, anytime you have success like that it's good, right?" he continued. "How many two-minute drills have we done out here? We practice it a lot. But winning a two-minute drill out here is way different than winning it in a game, under the lights on Christmas Eve and all those things.

"That adds some confidence, I think, but we're only as good as the next one."

Pickett and the offense were much better against the Raiders than they'd been on Oct. 23 in Miami, when a drive that began with 2:31 left in regulation and could have erased a 16-10 deficit against the Dolphins instead ended on an interception in the end zone.

"There's always reasons for those things," Canada said. "Multiple people are involved in success and failure. But for sure, from that game that we obviously felt like we let get away, to this game, where we had a chance to win and won it, yeah, I think that's definitely growth for Kenny, certainly first and foremost.

"The quarterback gets credit and the blame, but I think it's growth for everybody."