Watch: George Pickens gets wide-open for fourth TD of the season

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In Week 18 of the 2022 NFL regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cleveland Browns in an AFC North rivalry game that had to be a win if Pittsburgh wanted a shot at the playoffs. Thanks, in part, to a touchdown reception by rookie receiver George Pickens, the Steelers took care of what they could control by beating the Browns, 28-14.

In the second quarter, the Steelers allowed David Njoku grab a touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to go up 7-0. Undeterred, Pittsburgh called on rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett to even the score.

Starting at their own 25-yard line, Pittsburgh marched down the field to tie the game, 7-7, just nine plays and 75 yards later.

On third-and-ten from the Cleveland 26-yard line, the Steelers got called for a delay of game penalty. It could have been a costly mistake, and one that would have required a Chris Boswell field goal attempt.

Instead, Pickett, from the Cleveland 31-yard line, took the snap and threw an absolute dime to Pickens down the middle of the field. Pickens had great separation and hustled, easily, into the end zone for the score.

The reception was Pickens’ fourth touchdown on the season. The subsequent Boswell PAT was good and the Steelers entered halftime ahead by three thanks to a Levi Wallace interception that led to a Boswell field goal.

It was unfortunate that their eventual win would not allow Pittsburgh to grab the final AFC Wild Card spot due to a win by the Miami Dolphins (who owned the tie-breaker.)

Among 59 wide receivers with 70+ targets this year, Pickens finished 1st in contested catch percentage (67.9%). Nine of his contested catches were 20+ yards down the field which was also tied for the most in the NFL.

Pickett and Pickens set an NFL record with the highest rating (a league-high 139.7) between a rookie quarterback and rookie receiver ever in league history.


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