The Pittsburgh Steelers saw a halftime lead quickly wiped away for the second consecutive week with a dismal third quarter. This time, Kenny Pickett turned things back around, marching the Steelers on a game-winning drive in Indianapolis to beat the Colts, 24-17, on Monday night.
The TD drive to regain the lead, which included a big third-down conversion and a nifty two-point play, marked Pickett's first career fourth-quarter comeback win.
"No one had any doubts," Pickett said after the game. "No one had second thoughts going out there in that fourth quarter that we were going to win the game, and I think that's huge. Seeing the confidence in everybody in the huddle, you know, that we had no doubt that we were going to come away with a win. It was great to see that."
Last week, the Steelers jumped up on the Cincinnati Bengals before seeing the lead diminish and the offense go in the tank in the second half. It looked like a repeat performance Monday night, with Pickett and the offense going three-and-out on back-to-back drives to open the third quarter. During that span, the Colts turned a 16-3 deficit into a 17-16 lead.
Then Pickett lit the match, dropping some excellent balls, including a dart to George Pickens over the middle to convert a third-and-9 and perfect placement on a sideline pass to Pat Freiermuth on a third-and-6 to set up Benny Snell's 2-yard touchdown to retake the lead.
"We have him in there because we think he's capable of that," coach Mike Tomlin said of Pickett. "And so he proved it. I'm sure he's going to get a lot of other opportunities moving forward to prove that. We need people who run toward action, not away from it, and he runs toward it."
Pickett finished 20-of-28 passing for 174 yards, zero TDs, and no interceptions while adding 32 rush yards. Not "wow" numbers, but he made big plays in the crucible. It marked the rookie's third consecutive game without a turnover after committing nine in his first five games. It's a sign Pickett is developing each week in the passing game.
"We're all believing in what we're doing, and we're showing up every day to work," the quarterback said. "Every guy in that locker room wants to win, and we're doing everything it takes to go out there and win. We're leaving it out there. If you have that, you got a shot, so that's a good starting point. There's a lot of things to clean up, but if we continue to build on the positives and clean up the negatives, I think we'll continue to trend in this direction."