Pickett throws 2 TDs, as Steelers hold on to beat Raiders 23-18

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Levi Wallace (29) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

LAS VEGAS — Kenny Pickett passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns in an encouraging performance for Pittsburgh’s offense, and the Steelers held off the Las Vegas Raiders for a 23-18 victory on Sunday night.

In the first meeting between the franchises in Las Vegas, the Steelers earned their first road win against the Raiders since 1995.

Las Vegas trailed 23-7 going into the fourth quarter. It had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes, but coach Josh McDaniels settled for a short field goal instead of trying to convert a fourth-and-4 at the 8.

Pittsburgh (2-1) struggled offensively in its first two games, but it looked much better against Las Vegas (1-2). Pickett completed 16 of 28 passes, and George Pickens finished with four receptions for 75 yards.

T.J. Watt had another sensational game, recording two of Pittsburgh’s four sacks less than a week after returning a fumble for the winning touchdown on Monday night against the Cleveland Browns. The Raiders were the only team had that hadn’t allowed a sack through the first two weeks.

Chris Boswell made three field goals for the Steelers, including one from 57 yards. His longest is a 59-yarder against the Dallas Cowboys three years ago.

Las Vegas was hurt by three more interceptions for Jimmy Garoppolo, running his total to an NFL-high six on the season.

Garoppolo was 28 for 44 for 324 yards and two touchdowns, both to Davante Adams in another impressive performance for the receiver. Adams finished with 13 receptions for 172 yards.

The NFL’s reigning rushing champion, Josh Jacobs, had nowhere to run once again. He finished with 62 yards on 17 carries for the Raiders, giving him just 106 yards through three games.

Not that the Steelers’ rushing attack has been much better, but Najee Harris did gain 65 yards on 19 rushes. He entered the game with just 53 yards.

Both teams came out with long touchdown passes. Garoppolo converted a fourth-and-1 with a 3 2-yard pass to Adams, and Pickett launched a 72-yarder to Calvin Austin.

The Steelers grabbed control late in the third quarter. Trailing 16-7, the Raiders drove to Pittsburgh’s 48-yard line. Garoppolo dropped back and had plenty of time, but couldn’t find an open receiver. He lobbed a pass into double coverage that was intercepted by Patrick Peterson.

The Steelers then drove 81 yards on six plays, with Pickett completing a 13-yard pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth for a 23-7 lead with 3:56 left.

But Las Vegas closed to 23-15 with 5:41 left. Garoppolo completed a 1-yard TD pass to Adams, and then found tight end Michael Mayer for the 2-point conversion.

Daniel Carlson made a 26-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining to make it 23-18, giving him more than 600 career points.


Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton injured a knee.


Steelers: Visit the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Raiders: Visit the AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.


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