Steelers score late touchdown to keep playoff hopes alive on night they retire late Franco Harris’ number

The Pittsburgh Steelers led just 46 seconds on Saturday night – but that’s all they needed.

That 46 seconds was the final 46 as rookie George Pickens caught the game-winning touchdown on the Steelers’ final drive of the night.

The result – from one rookie (Kenny Pickett) to the other – gave the Steelers a 13-10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The brave performance came on the same night the franchise released Franco Harris’ No. 32 withdrew, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, also against the Raiders.

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Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the start of the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the start of the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Harris died earlier this week, just days before he could celebrate the anniversary and see his number in the rafters on Friday.

The Steelers wore their throwback jersey for the occasion, as well as a patch commemorating the anniversary of the iconic play.

Snow fell all night at Acrisure Stadium, so neither team really did much in offense. In fact, the Steelers actually missed two field goals in the minus four-degree wind. There were eight punts on the night and four interceptions (three thrown by Raiders’ Derek Carr).

But somehow the Steelers offense turned it up late after being silent for the first three quarters. With their first drive in the fourth quarter, they scored a field goal and made the deficit 10:6. Both teams traded punts, and after the Steelers forced a three-and-out, they had less than three minutes to score a touchdown to keep their season alive.

Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after an interception in the third quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after an interception in the third quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(Justin Berl/Getty Images)

STEELERS PLAYERS HONOR FRANCO HARRIS BY WEARING HIS JERSEY PRIOR TO THE LATE RUNNING BACK NUMBER OUT

The drive, starting at her own 24-yard line, lasted 10 plays, one of which was a huge 4th and 1 QB sneak to keep the drive alive. On the next play, Pickett found Pickens in the end zone. In fact, that ride was the first time they ever entered the red zone all night. But better late than never.

Carr had a chance to tie the game but threw an interception to freeze the ballgame (no pun intended).

Pickett threw for 244 yards, 75 of them on the game-winning drive, on 26 of 39 passes. Four Steelers (Pat Freiermuth, Diontae Johnson, Najree Harris and Pickens) each had at least five catches. All but Harris had over 55 receiving yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) celebrates after a sack during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Pittsburgh, Saturday, December 24, 2022.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) celebrates after a sack during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Pittsburgh, Saturday, December 24, 2022.
(AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

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The Steelers (7-8) face the Baltimore Ravens, who secured a playoff berth earlier in the day, in Week 17, while the 6-9 Raiders host the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers on New Year’s Day.

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