Nobody is going to put the Kenny Pickett in the Pro Bowl based on a few preseason drives.
But for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have to be thrilled at what they’ve seen.
The Steelers have been one of the most impressive teams in August, and Pickett is a big reason for that. The 2022 first-round pick continued his hot play with a strong finish to the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.
The Steelers had a 92-yard touchdown drive to start the game. Pickett hit Diontae Johnson for a 33-yard catch on third down to get the drive going.
Then he hit George Pickens on a ridiculous 35-yard catch to set up a Najee Harris touchdown run.
The second drive was good too. The Steelers defense forced a three-and-out. A good punt return put Pittsburgh in solid field position, Harris had a 16-yard gain on a screen pass and Jaylen Warren scored on an eight-yard run. The Steelers led 14-0 less than seven minutes into the game. The defense got another three-and-out and the offensive starters were done for the night. Mitchell Trubisky took over for Pickett.
Pickett’s play on Thursday night is a carryover from what we saw in the first two preseason games. Pickett completed 9 of 11 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns in limited action the first two preseason games. Then he completed all four passes Thursday night for 86 yards. It’s a step in the right direction for Pickett after a good finish to his rookie season. Last week the Steelers and Bills played their starters the first quarter, and the Steelers completely outplayed Buffalo. Pittsburgh led 14-0 after the first quarter.
Atlanta didn’t take Thursday’s game that seriously. They didn’t use starters. Based on that, feel free to be skeptical of what we saw out of Pickett and the Steelers on Thursday night. It’s fine to discount the entire preseason. It’s not like opponents are going with full game plans in these games.
What does the preseason mean? Maybe nothing. We’ll find out a lot more when the Steelers host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. But the Steelers couldn’t have asked for much better news coming out of August.