Despite a lousy result in his first start, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett apparently put enough good things on tape to open the eyes of this week’s opposing head coach.
We are going to see a first when the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs square off Sunday afternoon.
A former Penn State Nittany Lion gets some recognition, and we recap Matt Murray’s first start with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
All that in Thursday’s “First Call.”
Even though his offense posted just three points in his first start, Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is drawing praise from this week’s opponent.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles described the rookie as “a very heady football player. He knows where his check downs are. He has a very good arm.
Bowles also complimented Pickett’s ability to read defenses and his ability to escape the pocket when necessary.
“He’s got a good command of the offense,” Bowles concluded. “So, we expect him to play well (against us).”
Pickett threw for 327 yards and completed 65.4% of his passes. He only threw one interception but also didn’t throw a touchdown.
Here’s a first
How good is that Buffalo Bills team that just smoked the Steelers 38-3? Consider this.
Buffalo is a three-point favorite heading into Kansas City this weekend. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s the first time in Patrick Mahomes’ career that he has ever been an underdog at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
For the first time in his career, Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes is a home underdog. Mahomes had been favored in his first 41 home starts, including the playoffs, the longest streak to start a career in the Super Bowl era.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 12, 2022
By comparison, the Steelers’ Kenny Pickett will be making his first start at home Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an eight-point underdog.
The Bills were 14-point favorites heading into last week’s game against the Steelers. That had been the biggest point spread faced by the Steelers since the NFL merger in 1970.
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Parsons thinking positive
Penn State product Micah Parsons is the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. During a 22-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys star racked up five total tackles (one for loss), two sacks, three QB hits and a forced fumble.
Micah Parsons is him @MicahhParsons11
— NFL (@NFL) October 9, 2022
Parsons battled through a groin injury during that game as well. But he told reporters Wednesday that he will be good to go Sunday night when the 4-1 Cowboys visit the 5-0 Philadelphia Eagles.
Micah Parsons did not practice Wednesday, but “there’s no question,” he plays vs. Philly. He went through resistance training early in practice. “Just taking it easy. Don’t really want to push it. Just letting it rest and working, grinding it out so that I’ll be ready on Sunday.”
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) October 12, 2022
Meanwhile, New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon picked up the AFC hardware. He totaled two sacks, four QB hits, a forced fumble and three total tackles (one for a loss) during a 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions.
As for the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, to no one’s surprise it was Bills quarterback Josh Allen. He led the Buffalo beatdown of the Steelers, finishing 20-of-31 passing for a career-high 424 yards. He also had four touchdowns and added 42 rushing yards on five carries.
He did all that while being lifted in the fourth quarter for backup Case Keenum.
Maple Leaf Matt
The Toronto Maple Leafs are banking on a career resurgence from Matt Murray. He was their goalie for Game 1 of their NHL season Wednesday.
It wasn’t good enough. Murray and the Leafs lost to the Montreal Canadiens. The former Penguin allowed four goals on 23 shots as the Canadiens won 4-3.
Cole Caufield had a pair for Montreal.
— Montreal Canadiens (@CanadiensMTL) October 13, 2022
Murray, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, is hoping to find his game in Toronto after a nightmare stint in Ottawa. Following a trade with the Penguins, Murray went 15-25-3 for the Senators over two seasons, with a save percentage of .899 and a goals against average of 3.23.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at email@example.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.