Pickett’s Charge Leads Steelers to Victory

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Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin during the Steelers 20-13 win over the Cleveland Browns (Photo Credit: Vince Butts-UMT Sports )

     Kenny Pickett Leads Steelers to 32-25 Preseason Win

By Ray Porter Jr Urban Media Today

PITTSBURGH, PA-Whether it was a Preseason Game or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers first game in the newly named Acrisure Stadium was a victorious one, thanks to their rookie Quarterback.

 

First Rounder Kenny Pickett’s 24-yard TD pass to WR Tyler Vaughns with 3 seconds left gave the Steelers a 32-25 victory in front of 48,197 fans. It was Pickett’s 2nd TD of the game to go along with 95 yards on 13/15 passing. His other TD went to RB Jaylen Warren in the 3rd quarter.

The other 2 QBs weren’t too shabby either as starter Mitch Tribusky led the Steelers to their first TD with a 13-yard TD pass to WR Gunner Olszewski. He would also lead the Steelers on another scoring drive that ended with a 21-yard Nick Sciba FG. Tribusky would finish passing for 63 yards (4/7). Mason Rudolph would also throw a TD as his pass to rookie WR George Pickens extended the Steelers lead to 14-0 in the first quarter and he would finish passing for 93 yards (9/15)

 

All in all, it was a good night for head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers: “First, I’d just like to thank the fans. They were really into it, and we appreciate their presence, creating the type of atmosphere that we desire here, so that was good to get back in front of them. A lot of good effort, some things to learn from, some positive things, some negative things. That’s probably the nature of the first week out. It’s good to learn those lessons and explore those things with a win.”

Tomlin continued “I don’t care what time of year it is, we play and play to win, and I appreciate the group’s efforts, particularly a lot of the young guys. We held a lot of guys out. It created an awesome play opportunity for guys, not only in terms of play making and so forth, but just displaying conditioning and seeing if they’re capable of playing with detail as fatigue and so forth sets in.”

The Steelers that did not play were LB TJ Watt, RB Benny Snell Jr, DE Cameron Heyward, RB Najee Harris, WR Diontae Johnson, WR Chase Claypool & S Minkah Fitzpatrick.

 


Today’s a big week for us. We were able to stay virtually injury free. I think Karl Joseph had an ankle that’s being evaluated. I don’t know that any of the other ones are of any significance. You guys didn’t see us work on Friday, so Calvin Austin [III] had a foot injury that didn’t allow him to play. We’ll evaluate him and hopefully he’ll get back to it sooner rather than later but don’t have have a lot of details in that regard.

When asked about Pickett’s performance, Tomlin replied “He moved his group. He played situational football. He displayed a competitive spirit. A lot of good things to build on from a first performance standpoint.”

Regarding the performance of Tribusky and Rudolph “I could say the same thing about all three, to be honest with you.” Said Tomlin “They moved their units. They did the informal things associated with the position from a leadership and communication standpoint. They were engaged. It was a good first time out for all three. Obviously, we’ll comb through it tomorrow and evaluate it in that way.”

 


The rookie Pickens continues to live up to his hype as he caught 3 passes for 43 yards and the TD, all in the first quarter. When asked if anything about his performance surprised him tonight, Tomlin replied “No.”

Another player who made an impression was RB Anthony McFarland, who ran with a mission as he led the Steelers with 56 yards on 7 carries. Undrafted Free Agent Warren (6 carries, 34 yards, TD) and recent signee Master Teague III (6 carries, 31 yards) also performed well.

When asked about his running backs, Tomlin replied “I liked the efforts of those guys. I didn’t like Jaylen [Warren] putting the ball on the ground. I appreciate his tackle breaking and contact balance, but that standard of expectation is non-negotiable. He’s got to get better there. These are good days provided we take care of the ball, and we didn’t do that. Thankfully we got it back. We’ve got to get better.”

The main concern about the Steelers performance in the game was their run defense, who gave up 159 yards (led by DeeJay Dallas’ 73) and a TD. Although the unit wasn’t made up of the first team, the goal for 2022 was to improve in that area. “The standard is the standard and we were below the line. We’ve got to get better there.”-said Tomlin.

 

Although they didn’t win, the Seahawks overcame a 17-0 deficit and tied the game twice in the second half. DT Quinton Jefferson was appreciative of his team’s efforts. “I was proud of my team’s fight tonight.” Said Jefferson who returned to the Seahawks on a 2-year contract after spending 2021 in Las Vegas.

When asked about his goals for 2022, Jefferson replied “To get 10 sacks, make the Pro Bowl, but to also help this defensive line.”

The Steelers will now return to work at Latrobe for their final week up there in Training Camp and then prepare for their second Preseason game in Jacksonville vs. the Jaguars.

“A lot of awesome efforts. We’ll comb through this. It’s big. I just told the group, the biggest thing that we’ll probably do to this point is the next time we come together, and the analysis of this tape and the lessons learned and how guys, our actions as we lean into the next in-stadium opportunity, and that’s the cycle that is this game.”-Said Tomlin.

Ray Porter Jr July 2021

Please e-mail Ray at rayporterjr72@gmail.com Follow him @RP2872_Jr on Twitter