ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP) — As he prepares to make his first NFL profession begin, Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett understandably dismisses the story of Pittsburgh having little likelihood of beating the Buffalo Payments on Sunday.
“You guys and everyone suppose we’re underdogs,” Pickett mentioned. “However we do not.”
Extra outstanding, maybe, is that Von Miller is not shopping for it both.
“It does not matter what their file says. It does not matter who they’ve as a quarterback,” the Payments passing thrower mentioned. “I am not going into this match unprepared or something.”
Whereas there stay many acquainted faces from the Pittsburgh group Miller confronted only a yr in the past in a 27-19 loss whereas with Denver, some vital modifications have occurred.
Most notable is at quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger retired, and Pickett had the prospect to point out why the Steelers thought of the College of Pittsburgh product the inheritor obvious by drafting him at No. 20.
Pickett will get the inexperienced gentle after changing Mitch Trubisky within the second half 24-20 loss to the New York Jets. Though Pickett rushed for 2 touchdowns to construct a 20-10 lead, the 24-year-old additionally threw three interceptions, the second resulting in the Jets scoring the beginning factors with 16 seconds left.
Coach Mike Tomlin noticed sufficient of what he known as Pickett’s “spark” to make the change.
“We’re full steam forward,” Tomlin mentioned. “I do not spend numerous time fascinated about choices that have not been made and searching within the rear view mirror.”
That could be the most effective method, given the Steelers have misplaced three straight since a 23-20 time beyond regulation win over Cincinnati.
The three-game skid and 1-3 begin is strictly the place Pittsburgh was in its first 4 video games final season, with the lone win coming within the season opener at Buffalo. Tomlin has little interest in drawing even constructive comparisons after the Steelers responded to make the playoffs with a 9-7-1 end.
“I am not searching for consolation on this expertise,” Tomlin mentioned. “We’re coping with our subject right here in the intervening time in 2022.”
The issues abound, and the Steelers may very well be 0-4 have been it not for Evan McPherson’s missed additional run try for Cincinnati with 2 seconds left in regulation time.
Pickett’s two touchdowns are already tied with working again Najee Harris for group chief. The protection struggled to maintain the lead within the second half. And accidents are an element, with final season’s NFL Defensive Participant of the Yr TJ Watt (pectoral) indefinitely.
The Payments (3-1) have their very own harm worries, however all of the sudden skyrocket after overcoming a 17-point deficit to retire a 23-20 win in Baltimore Final week.
The win got here on the heels of Buffalo squandering a fourth quarter lead in a 21-19 loss at Miami, and eventually confirmed the Payments have been able to successful within the clutch. Buffalo had misplaced seven straight video games that have been determined by seven runs or much less.
“I believe the character that is been proven over the past two weeks says lots concerning the guys we’ve got on this locker room,” quarterback Josh Allen mentioned.
ON THE RECEIVER SIDE
After almost working out of wholesome offensive linemen in opposition to Miami, Buffalo was down to simply three wholesome receivers in opposition to Baltimore. Isaiah McKenzie landed in NFL concussion protocol, fellow slots catcher Jamison Crowder broke his ankle and Jake Kumerow was sidelined with an ankle harm.
Rookie Khalil Shakir made his first two profession catches, whereas working again Devin Singletary was second on the group with 47 yards on 4 catches.
McKenzie’s standing is unsure for this week. Kumerow is unlikely to play and Crowder is out.
The Steelers are 0-3 with out Watt this season and 0-7 total when he misses a recreation. After creating seven sacks and 5 turnovers in opposition to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh generated simply three sacks and three takeaways.
“We are able to waste all day speaking concerning the affect of his being unavailable,” Tomlin mentioned. “We higher spend our time speaking concerning the guys which are out there to us and the way we divide that work in the most effective effort to reduce the opponents we put together for.”
Pittsburgh’s group of large receivers was purported to be one of many deepest within the NFL. Issues did not precisely pan out within the opening month. The Steelers have simply two landing passes thus far they usually’re the one group within the NFL whose large receivers have not scored but. Pittsburgh ranks thirtieth within the league in yards per try (6.0).
Rookie George Pickens noticed a major improve in targets beneath Pickett by ending with six receptions for 102 yards. As Pickens soars, Diontae Johnson and third-year veteran Chase Claypool slip. Johnson caught simply two passes for 11 yards in opposition to New York and obtained a throw from Trubisky that clapped his palms for an interception.
With the Payments’ harm report itemizing 16 gamers, coach Sean McDermott mentioned he was near working out of physique to place collectively a full exercise.
“We’re hanging proper on the sting,” he mentioned.
Accidents and a brief week after a Monday evening win over Tennessee led McDermott to chop his coaching schedule to 2 days earlier than Buffalo’s loss to Miami in Week 3.
AP Sports activities Author Will Graves contributed.
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