While all of us curmudgeon media folks angrily shake our fists at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris offers a different take on the group, primarily second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett.
“I’ve seen a quarterback stand in the face of adversity and put his team in position to be tied for first place in their division,” said Morris via the Rams’ YouTube channel. “And he’s winning late-game charges and doing some of those things that you do at a very high level.”
For all of the flak that Pickett has received from fans and analysts alike, Morris has a point. It hasn’t been pretty, and it definitely hasn’t been easy, but five weeks into their season the Steelers are sitting atop the AFC North. Few, if any, would have predicted that following their Week One loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
I, as have many others, have been critical of the Pitt graduate for his pocket awareness and decision-making, but when the chips are down, Pickett steps up.
After leading a game-winning drive against the Baltimore Ravens in 2022, the gunslinger did it again just two weeks ago, finding George Pickens for a 41-yard game-winning touchdown strike.
That makes three game-winning drives for Pickett through the first 17 starts of his career. And all of this during the tumultuous rule of Matt Canada as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Morris is aware of the Steelers’ ability to overcome such adversity, citing coach and good friend Mike Tomlin as a source of consistency for the team.
“Didn’t start off the right way, but at the end of the day, they found a way to put themselves in position to be tied in that division, which we all know is a tough one to be right in a position with,” Morris said. “I know the leader, well, I know what his messaging is and he’s all about wins. Like he’ll tell you he’s in the business of winning.’’
Good, bad, or ugly, that much is true and has been true through the duration of Tomlin’s run as head coach of the Steelers. To him, it doesn’t matter how the cake gets baked, just so long as it’s served after supper.
Pickett stands to be an average NFL quarterback, who will never enter the same elite status as the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, but so long as he shows up in those “weighty moments,” as Tomlin often references, he does not care.
The Steelers hope Pickett’s magic continues Sunday as the team takes on the new-age, high-scoring Sean McVay offense and the one-man wrecking crew that is Aaron Donald.