October 7, 2022

The fans in Pittsburgh already are chanting Kenny Pickett’s name.

Locked in a three-pronged competition to be named retired Ben Roethlisberger’s successor as the Steelers’ starting quarterback, Pickett enjoyed a strong preseason debut with a game-winning touchdown pass with three seconds remaining Saturday night in a 32-25 victory over the Seahawks.

Pickett, the 20th overall pick in the draft out of nearby Pitt, is competing for the starting job with free-agent signing Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. The rookie completed 13 of 15 passes for 95 yards in the second half with two touchdowns, including the 24-yard score to Tyler Vaughns in the closing seconds.

“Really, the whole night was special,” Pickett said after the game, according to the Pittsburgh Tribine-Review. “The first one to have as an NFL player, to finish it that way in that stadium with a lot of family and friends there, it was awesome.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the opener was “a good first time out for all three” quarterbacks, with Trubisky and Rudolph each tossing a touchdown pass in the first half.

But many fans at Acrisure Stadium made their feelings known with multiple chants of “Kenny” during Pickett’s time on the field.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t [hear it],” Pickett said. “It was an incredible feeling. It was really cool. It was special.”

Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett celebrates after throwing a touchdown on Saturday.
Kenny Pickett slaps hands with fans after the Steelers' win over the Seahawks on Saturday.
Kenny Pickett slaps hands with fans after the Steelers’ win over the Seahawks on Saturday.
Getty Images

“He moved his group, he played situational football, and he displayed competitive spirit,” Tomlin added. “A lot of good things to build on.”

Roethlisberger, a six-time Pro Bowler, was the Steelers’ starter for 18 seasons, leading the team to two Super Bowl titles among three appearances in the championship game.

See also  ESPN crew has pressure of iconic Mets trio looming over wild-card round