Winning games all that matters to Pickett

A quick look at Kenny Pickett's statistics won't make anyone all that excited. Except, that is, for the most important statistic for quarters – wins and losses.

The Steelers are 13-8 in games started by Pickett in his two-year career, including 6-3 this season. Even more impressive, they're 12-5 in games he both starts and finishes.

And that is the truest mark of an NFL quarterback. Passer ratings, touchdown passes and yards are all nice, but the biggest thing they're judged by are wins and losses.

"That's the most important thing," Pickett said Wednesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex as the Steelers (6-3) began preparations to travel to Cleveland Sunday to face the Browns (6-3) in a key AFC North matchup.

"As long as we keep doing that I feel good with where we're headed and direction that we're going."

Pickett has been doing a good job of that, putting the Steelers in position to get into first place in the AFC North standings with a win Sunday at Cleveland coupled with a Cincinnati victory on Thursday night over the Ravens.

Pickett is coming off a game in which he threw for just 129 yards in a 23-19 win over the Green Bay Packers. But he also didn't need to throw the ball a lot, as the Steelers rushed for a season-best 205 yards in the win.

Still, both he and the team know there will be times when he has to throw the ball more and be more effective.

"We're going need more particularly as this road narrows," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "But guys like Kenny and myself, we're measured by wins and losses. He and I talk about that often and openly. We know what our jobs are. Our jobs are to win. And so, that's where we are. That's where our focus is. 

"I love the fact that he embraces that. Down in and down out there are some things to work on, certainly, but it's not like we're going to start on Wednesday, working on those things. We've been working on those things, and we will continue until we get the desired result."

The desired result is a more explosive offense, one capable of carrying the load more for what has been an opportunistic defense. The Steelers are tied for the league lead in turnover ratio at plus-10. But a big part of that also has included their offense taking care of the football.

Pickett hasn't thrown an interception in his past five games and has just four this season to go along with only one fumble – which the Steelers also recovered.

Dale Lolley is co-host of "SNR Drive" on Steelers Nation Radio. Subscribe to the podcast here: Apple Podcast | iHeart Podcast

He's the only quarterback in the NFL who has thrown 200 or more passes who has yet to turn the ball over five or fewer times.

Still, there are plays that could be made the Steelers haven't gotten in the passing game. While he's only turned the ball over four times, he's also only thrown six touchdown passes.

"I wouldn't say we have to change anything," said wide receiver Dionate Johnson. "It's more just executing what is called. It's understanding down and distance and the calling of the play to beat the coverage that is thrown at us."

That will continue to develop as Pickett does in his second season.

And in the meantime, he'll continue to try to do his best to do his No. 1 job, which is to help the Steelers win as many games as possible.

"You've got to win at all costs in this game," Pickett said. "That's all I truly care about. Of course, you want to light up the stat sheet. But as long as we're getting the wins, 'm okay with that. I sleep good with getting a win. So keep pushing, keep having that mindset."