PITTSBURGH -- It was no secret that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett would face an uphill battle when he makes his first career start against the preseason Super Bowl favorites, the Buffalo Bills. The Bills took an unexpected loss on the road to Miami two weeks ago but the challenge they pose to the rookie quarterback will be of historic proportions.
Buffalo currently leads the NFL in pass defense, allowing the fewest yards and second-fewest touchdowns through the air this season. Just one rookie quarterback has ever faced and beaten the league's best passing defense in their first career start and it was another Steeler - Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Roethlisberger did it in 2004 against the stingy Miami Dolphins, coached by Western Pennsylvania native and former Pitt head coach, Dave Wannstedt.
He didn't have to do much to get the win, though. Roethlisberger needed to complete just 54% of his passes for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception to top the Dolphins in Miami while his defense held them to just three points.
Pickett will face a Buffalo offense that is miles more talented and productive than that 2004 Miami unit that finished 28th in scoring and will likely need to produce more than Roethlisberger did for the Steelers to win.
Even if Pickett gets past the Bills, he will still face a massively difficult schedule. The Steelers' next seven games will come against teams with a winning record. If PICKETT starts all seven contests, it will be the longest set of games played against winning teams to open a rookie quarterback's career since 1950.
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