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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes are alive after the rookie tandem of Kenny Pickett and George Pickens led them to a 13-10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night.
Pickett hit Pickens in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown with 46 seconds remaining to give the Steelers their first and only lead of the game.
Pickett to Pickens for the @steelers to take the lead with less than a minute left!
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The touchdown ended a 10-play 76-yard drive after Pittsburgh’s offense had gained a total of 42 yards in the previous three drives.
Since the Week 10 bye, Pittsburgh has won five of seven games to improve their overall record to 7-8.
Perhaps more important than his record, however, is Pickett’s continued growth at quarterback and Pickens showing they can play in a big moment.
Pickett, who returned to the lineup after missing last week’s game with a concussion, finished 26 of 39 for 244 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Pickens had 57 yards and a touchdown in five receptions.
While the stat line won’t pop out for either player, their connection to the starting gun was obvious. Pickett went 7 of 9 for 75 yards, picked up a 4th and 1 on a sneak to keep the drive alive and immediately looked to Pickens on his first pass into the end zone.
Pickett has completed 62.5 percent of his attempts for 1,079 yards with three touchdowns and one interception since Week 10.
Pittsburgh’s defense also did a fantastic job keeping the Raiders at bay. Vegas ended up losing just 201 yards.
The Steelers’ win kept Mike Tomlin’s streak of unbeaten seasons as head coach alive. More importantly, they were able to stay alive in the AFC playoff race with a 7-8 record.
They still need a lot of help to get in, starting with the Los Angeles Chargers’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night. But the door isn’t closed on a team that looked buried after a 35-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 30 that gave them a 2-6 record.