Steelers’ Kenny Pickett on Franco Harris: ‘It Felt Like He Was With Us Tonight’

Steelers’ Kenny Pickett on Franco Harris: ‘It Felt Like He Was With Us Tonight’

An emotional night in Pittsburgh ended in triumph for the Steelers as the club pulled off a comeback 13–10 victory over the Raiders to cap an evening dedicated to legend Franco Harris, who died Wednesday at the age of 72. 

Harris’s sudden passing came just two days before the 50th anniversary of the legendary Immaculate Reception, when the franchise great scored a miraculous game-winning touchdown against the Raiders in 1972. Pittsburgh retired Harris’s No. 32 jersey during a special ceremony recognizing the iconic play prior to kickoff while several Steelers players paid tribute to the Pro Football Hall of Famer by wearing his jersey to the game.

Similar to that fateful night 50 years ago, the Steelers found themselves trailing late against their longtime rival. But, thanks to a game-winning drive orchestrated by quarterback Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh managed to honor Harris with a big victory and preserve its playoff hopes at the same time.

After the narrow victory, Pickett spoke with NBC what it meant to earn the win given the emotions surrounding the game.

“It’s an incredibly special night, obviously. Dedicated this game to Franco, we all wore his jersey in tonight, felt like he was with us tonight and, definitely, on that last drive, you saw Najee making some great plays so it was really special,” Pickett said.

Thanks to an impressive outing from their defense, the Steelers found themselves with the ball after a Raiders three-and-out with 2:55 left in the game.

As Pickett mentioned postgame, a flurry of quick passes to running back Najee Harris, coupled with a few strikes to tight end Pat Freiermuth, positioned Pittsburgh on the Las Vegas 14-yard line with 50 seconds to play. After marching 60 yards to the redzone, Pickett capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver George Pickens to take a shocking lead as the home crowd went wild.

An interception by cornerback Cameron Sutton, Pittsburgh’s third of the night, on the ensuing Las Vegas drive put the finishing touches on the game to send the Steelers home victorious.

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