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Kenny Pickett tosses late TD as Steelers rally past Raiders

Dec 24, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) runs the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) defends during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Pickett hit George Pickens on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds remaining and the host Pittsburgh Steelers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 13-10 victory during an emotional Saturday night.

The last-minute victory was earned three days after the death of former Steelers great Franco Harris and one day after the 50th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception,” when Harris caught a deflected pass and scored the game-winning touchdown during the final minute of a 1972 playoff game against the Raiders.

In his return after missing last week’s victory over the Carolina Panthers because of a concussion, Pickett was 26 of 39 for 244 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Najee Harris had 53 yards rushing on 16 carries for Pittsburgh (7-8), while Pat Freiermuth had seven catches for 66 yards.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was 16 of 30 for 174 yards and a touchdown but threw three interceptions. Las Vegas (6-9) could be eliminated from playoff consideration as early as Monday.

On a frigid night with temperatures hovering around the single digits, the Raiders went 72 yards on 14 plays on the opening drive of the game and scored on Carr’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow.

The Steelers’ Chris Boswell and the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson traded field goals in the second quarter as Las Vegas led 10-3 at halftime.

Boswell missed a 52-yard attempt in the third quarter, but made a 40-yard attempt with 9:47 remaining to get Pittsburgh within 10-6.

The Raiders struggled in the second half as Carr threw two interceptions and the offense gained a combined 30 yards over their first five drives after halftime. NFL leading rusher Josh Jacobs finished with 44 yards on 15 carries for Las Vegas.

On their final possession, which started with 2:55 remaining, the Steelers finally made it inside the red zone and scored on Pickett’s pass to Pickens that completed a 10-play, 76-yard drive.

The short-handed Raiders defense was without Chandler Jones because of a third-quarter elbow injury and lost linebacker Denzel Perryman with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.

One week after an improbable last-play touchdown for a victory over the New England Patriots, the Raiders’ hopes at another late comeback were dashed when Carr was intercepted by Cameron Sutton with 36 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media