All 3 Steelers QBs including rookie Kenny Pickett are playing well

Mitchell Trubisky started for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason opener and did nothing to lose ground in the quarterback league. But Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett are not leaving.

All three Steelers quarterbacks looked good on Saturday night. Pickett, a first-round pick, took his first shots in the NFL and thrilled the crowd. He threw the game-winning touchdown with three seconds left, and Pittsburgh won 32-25. Maybe it says something about the Seattle Seahawks defense that all three Steelers quarterbacks played well, but it’s still a good sign for a Steelers team trying to replace Ben Roethlisberger.

Trubisky looked confident from the start of the match. On the first drive, Trubisky led a touchdown drive. During the scoring attempt, Trubisky started to scramble, then saw a bull’s eye on the wide open Gunner Olszewski and hit him for a 13-yard touchdown. It was a strong, efficient first ride.

Trubisky started the second drive with a nice throw to Connor Heyward’s tight end over the middle, just past the defender’s reach. Trubisky showed his athleticism later in the ride, wiggling out of a certain pocket through Seahawks and Darrell Taylor and scrambling through a few yards. Trubisky played two series and was 4-of-7 for 63 yards.

Rudolph came in after Trubisky — Pickett who plays third tells you how far he is from winning the runway — and threw a nice deep touchdown pass to George Pickens, a second-round rookie generating a ton of buzz with a great camp, in the corner of the end zone.

Rudolph finished 9-of-15 for 93 yards, and Pickett started the second half. Pickett, who played at the University of Pittsburgh, received much acclaim from Steelers fans. He hit a bootleg pass for 11 yards on his first game. He finished the ride with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Warren running back and a two-point conversion pass. Fans chanted his name. Pickett completed his first 10 passes, although most of them were low-risk short throws. When the Steelers recovered the ball late in a tie, Pickett led a game-winning drive and threw a 24-yard score to Tyler Vaughns, who turned away from a tackle attempt and scored, with three seconds left. Pickett finished 13-of-15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns. A decent debut.

Right now, Trubisky is the favorite to start week 1. But the competition is not over yet.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett had a strong debut in a preseason game against the Seahawks.  (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett had a strong debut in a preseason game against the Seahawks. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Spotlight Team: Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks also have a quarterback league, so Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh was the biggest on the preseason schedule.

Geno Smith played pretty well when Russell Wilson was injured last season, was the starter during the off-season, even though Seattle traded for Drew Lock and started against the Steelers. Smith didn’t let much happen, but he was fine. Smith finished 10 of 15 for 101 yards before taking a place at halftime. Drew Lock got the second half and his performance will keep the quarterback league alive. Lock was 11-of-15, 102 yards and two touchdowns. He looked pretty good and might have narrowed the gap with Smith.

Not much else went well for the Seahawks. They trailed 14-0 early. A failed cover led to Pittsburgh’s first touchdown. A long kick return resulted in the Steelers’ second touchdown. Handling was a big problem for the Seahawks. Seattle’s offense wasn’t bad, but it had three punts and a field goal from four drives. Smith came in for a touchdown with 21 seconds left to end his night on a positive note. Lock had some success against Steelers backups, which was good, although he fumbled late when he failed to see the pressure from the blind and was fired. That led to the Steelers’ game-winning touchdown.

Seattle will likely struggle this season. That’s what usually happens when you trade an elite quarterback like Wilson. Saturday night didn’t give much optimism that the Seahawks will be better than expected this season.

Standout Player: Washington QB Sam Howell

Commanding quarterback Sam Howell, a fifth-round rookie, took care of a number of things. It’s only one game of the preseason, but Washington fans should be wondering if they made the right choice in the draft.

Howell was 9-of-16 for 143 yards passing and also had two hasty touchdowns. One was a nice scramble in the middle.

The Panthers won 23-21 on a last minute field goal, but Howell did his best to lead the Commanders into a lead after falling behind. Howell was once considered a first-round prospect before his stock plummeted, and he looked pretty good in his NFL preseason debut.

Carson Wentz is the starter for Washington. The commanders have given up a lot to get him. But Wentz failed in Indianapolis last season, nor is he sure he will play well in Washington. Howell is worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the preseason, even if it will be a while before he gets a chance to play in the regular season.

Other games

Chicago Bears 19, Kansas City Chiefs 14: Bears quarterback Justin Fields had some nice passes, especially a nice one for Darnell Mooney, who made a nice jump from 26 yards.

But Fields was also under a lot of pressure, reinforcing that the Bears’ offensive line could be a problem all season.

Buffalo Bills 27, Indianapolis Colts 24: The Bills didn’t play starters, but the Colts did. The Colts had their starters all the way through the first quarter and second, and new quarterback Matt Ryan threw 10 passes. He completed six for 58 yards, an unremarkable Colts preseason debut. He completed a few passes for 30 yards to his new No. 1 receiver Michael Pittman, but no other receiver stood out. The Bills came back to win their ninth straight preseason game, kicking the winning field goal in the final game.

Miami Dolphins 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24: The Dolphins sat out a lot of starters and the Buccaneers held off just about everyone who could play in week 1. This is what preseason football looks like:

Sophomore Buccaneer quarterback Kyle Trask got a long look. After Blaine Gabbert was pretty good (5-of-5 for 56 yards and nicely thrown touchdown), Trask went up and down to start, but settled well. Trask threw an interception that landed on the defender’s legs before it hit the ground, but it shouldn’t have been thrown in the first place as he was under pressure. He had a touchdown drive in which he completed five of six passes for 56 yards. Trask led a nice drive for a game-winning field goal at the end, but the kick hit the upright. Trask finished 25-of-33 for 258 yards.

Houston Texans 17, New Orleans Saints 13: Andy Dalton got the start for the injured Jameis Winston and showed why he will be one of the best back-ups in the league for a while. He went 5-of-5 for 51 yards and a touchdown to run back Dwayne Washington. If Winston has to miss a moment during the regular season, Dalton can intervene immediately and keep the attack going.

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos: These two teams had a joint practice session in Denver this week, so both coaches were with practically every starter. Josh Johnson started as quarterback for the Broncos and threw two touchdowns to give Denver an early lead. He finished with 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers: Neither team played their starters. The Rams started the trend of seated starters during the preseason under Sean McVay, and Chargers coach and former McVay assistant Brandon Staley has followed that path.

Final Thoughts

• Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson had a breakdown in the start of Carolina Panthers QB Baker Mayfield on Saturday. Mayfield had a solid performance in limited playing time, completing 4-of-7 passes for 45 yards.

• The Chiefs should be excited about the start of the defense, George Karlaftis. A first-round pick from Purdue, Karlaftis put consistent pressure on the quarterback. Some of that is playing against the Chicago Bears’ bad offensive line, but he had a sack and two quarterback hits. He will be a big part of the Kansas City defense.

• The Bears also got a promising play from a starting defender. Safety Jaquan Brisker was present all over the field. He had defended four tackles, one pass and one tackle for loss. The Bears might have made that choice.

• Colt’s backup quarterback Nick Foles had some tough moments. He never saw pressure come off his front and was fired, losing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. He also threw a pass that was way over the head of his receiver and was picked by the Bills. Bill’s QB Case Keenum, who started while Josh Allen was out, wasn’t much better with a few interceptions.

• Washington rookie running back Bryan Robinson looked good, picking up 26 yards and a touchdown on six carries. He could cut into Antonio Gibson’s early work if he continues to impress.

• Steeler’s rookie receiver George Pickens has done nothing but impress. He slipped in the draft due to a knee injury in Georgia, but he already looks like he belongs in the NFL. The Steelers will have to find ways to get him involved early in the season.

And as a bonus, check out Picken’s pancake a cornerback (at the bottom of the screen):

• Texan rookie running back Dameon Pierce is an interesting player. He is a fourth round pick in a team that needs young talent to emerge, and a pretty clear path to winning a runway. His first preseason run was over 20 yards, and it was impressive. Pierce had 49 yards on five carries.

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