Kenny Pickett continues to make a strong case for being the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback this season.
The rookie played the entire third quarter and part of the fourth quarter in Pittsburgh's 19-9 preseason finale win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, finishing 10-of-14 for 90 yards. He didn't turn the ball over and he wasn't sacked, leading the Steelers to one drive that resulted in a field goal and another that resulted in a missed field goal.
He also spun some absolute gems:
While Pickett and Pittsburgh's backups didn't find the end zone, it was another impressive performance from the young quarterback, and more than a few folks were singing his praises on Twitter:
Jonathan Heitritter @J_Heits
I get Trubisky looked good the first half, but Pickett has got it done regardless of who he's out there with in all three games🤷♂️ I rest my case 💯 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HereWeGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HereWeGo</a> <a href="https://t.co/hhbcb4IXjg">https://t.co/hhbcb4IXjg</a>
Zac Celedonia @ZeFlashNFL
alright 9 minutes left in the preseason cool I’d start kenny pickett off what I’ve seen from practices and camp. I feel 100% confident in that decision and do not think in any way mitch showed enough to be starting. Pickett gives this team a better chance right now as a rookie
It's going to be a tough decision for Mike Tomlin heading into the season. Mitch Trubisky didn't do anything to lose the starting job on Sunday, finishing 15-of-19 for 160 yards, a touchdown and two sacks taken. He led the Steelers on four scoring drives and a 16-0 lead at the half.
Up until now, the general feeling has been that Trubisky would start the season as the starter—and certainly, the fact that he played the first half with Pittsburgh's starters on Sunday backs up that belief—but it's clear that Pickett's impressive preseason has him making inroads.
Unlike some quarterback competitions around the league, which are indications that teams don't have a single solid option, the Steelers' quarterback battle is a good thing. Trubisky, brought along as a free agent this offseason ostensibly to be a bridge option between the retired Ben Roethlisberger and a young player like Pickett, has played well enough to suggest that he would be a deserving option.
And Pickett, the team's first-round pick, already looks capable of running an NFL offense. It would appear he's ahead of schedule, and certainly against the Lions he yet again looked more than ready for the big stage.
Frankly, the Steelers probably have bigger issues, namely with the five players tasked with protecting either Trubisky or Pickett:
Luckily, they avoided a major scare on Sunday after superstar edge-rusher T.J. Watt and top wideout Diontae Johnson left the game with what ended up being minor injuries:
NFL on CBS 🏈 @NFLonCBS
"Mike Tomlin said: 'Look, if this was a regular season game, we might see those guys back in this game.' So there's no long term concern at the moment for either player." <br><br>- <a href="https://twitter.com/EvanWashburn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EvanWashburn</a> on injuries to Diontae Johnson and TJ Watt <a href="https://t.co/Lr2bjV4tD0">pic.twitter.com/Lr2bjV4tD0</a>
All in all, a solid final preseason game for the Steelers. Now, Tomlin is tasked with making the huge decision of which player will run his offense this season. Trubisky may still be the front-runner, but more than a few folks believe Pickett is ready for the responsibility.