Because the dust settles on the Steelers’ first leg of these quarterback competition — a 32-25 win on the Seattle Seahawks — Pittsburgh can feel encouraged by the performance of most three options.
When Steelers coaches take their fine-toothed combs to the film in the times ahead, they’ll observe that Mitchell Trubisky answered the bell admirably because the man atop of the depth chart, and Mason Rudolph provided sturdy play worth a longtime backup, nonetheless it was the quarterback into the future, Kenny Pickett, who delivered the largest play and elicited the loudest fan reaction.
“They moved their units,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “They did the informal things linked to the position from the leadership and communication standpoint. These were engaged. It had been a good first-time out for several three. Obviously, we shall comb through it tomorrow and evaluate it by doing so.”
Unsurprisingly, Tomlin made no announcements regarding weekly 1 starter or who was simply at the forefront in the QB competition.
Trubisky took the initial crack, needlessly to say, and wasted virtually no time making the feeling on his third NFL home. Besides staying strong in the pocket, making several throws right at the idea of connection with a pursuing Seahawks defender, Trubisky completed 3-of-5 passes for 47 yards on his first drive and delivered the game’s opening salvo — a 13-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Gunner Olszewski.
Trubisky started his second drive by threading the needle to sixth-rounder (and Cameron Heyward‘s brother) Connor Heyward for 16 yards. The momentum stalled on another group of downs, however, not before Trubisky showed off his mobility, escaping from the sure sack for a four-yard scamper.
Rudolph took the reins on Pittsburgh’s third offensive possession deep in Seattle territory. He was strip-sacked from the blindside by Seahawks second-rounder Boye Mafe on his first snap, but he recovered their own fumble and rebounded two plays later with a pinpoint 26-yard pass in the corner of the endzone to the Steelers’ own second-round rookie, WR George Pickens.
Rudolph’s subsequent three drives were only available in less fortuitous territory — beginning at the Steelers’ 20-yard line typically — and resulted in only three points. Rudolph looked assured in the pocket, that is to be likely after 3 years in the machine.
He finished out the initial half with a good stat type of 9-of-15 passing for 93 yards and something score, but he also lucked from a dropped pick thrown directly into the chest of defensive back Josh Jones, and did little to close the gap behind Trubisky or protect himself against Pickett on the depth chart.
When Pickett, the lone quarterback used this year’s first round, took over in the 3rd quarter, it had been clear by the crowd’s reaction he played his college ball right next door. Following a standing ovation, Pickett completed a straightforward play-action rollout to tight end Jace Sternberger to get both his early footing and an initial down.
He’d go on to perform all six of his attempted passes on the initial drive, including a 3-yard touch pass to rookie RB Jaylen Warren for six and a two-point conversion to Heyward.
The Steelers adapted a grind-it-out style from then on, but Pickett still didn’t register an incompletion until his 11th attempt, a deep shot to wideout Christian Blake with only minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Pickett saved his most impressive drive for last. Following a thumping blindside hit separated Seahawks QB Drew Lock from the ball with 70 seconds remaining, the rookie took at Seattle’s 43-yard line with the overall game tied, 25-25. Pickett showed knowing of both clock and the score by prioritizing ball security — twice scrambling for a complete of 12 yards — and finally iced the overall game with a 24-yard TD pass.
“He moved his group. He played situational football,” Tomlin said of Pickett’s game-winning drive. “He displayed a competitive spirit. Plenty of good things to create on from the first-performance standpoint.”
By the end of your day, Trubisky held serve. He did along with should be expected in only two drives of work. But it’s clear who fans want on the field. The crowd was in rare form for another half a preseason game, filling the newly named Acrisure Stadium with chants of “Kenny” for a third-string rookie who debuted such as a pro.
NFL+ offers you the freedom to view LIVE out-of-market preseason games, LIVE local and prime-time regular-season and postseason games on your own phone or tablet, the very best NFL programming on-demand and much more! Wherever you’re, this is one way you football! Find out more aboutNFL+.