Steelers QB report card: Kenny Pickett makes his debut, Trubisky benched

Shayne Kubas
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) looks for a receiver against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. The Jets won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) looks for a receiver against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. The Jets won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Steelers finally saw enough of Mitch Trubisky, opting to put Kenny Pickett in after halftime against the Jets. Here is how he performed.

Steelers fans have been clamoring for Kenny Pickett for weeks, and they finally got their wish. After yet another abysmal half of offense, Mitch Trubisky was moved to the bench in favor of the Steelers rookie QB. Whether you believe Trubisky was really the problem or not, it was very apparent that something had to change. Here is how both QBs played against the Jets on Sunday.

Steelers Trubisky finally loses his starting spot

Mitch Trubisky needed to have a big day against the Jets if he wanted the calls for Kenny Pickett to quiet down. Unfortunately, he and the offense didn’t show much in the first half. He went 7 for 13 with 84 yards and an interception and led the offense to just six points. The interception wasn’t really on him, but he missed several throws and couldn’t create anything on his own.

It was more of the same we have seen from the veteran QB so far this season, and coach Mike Tomlin decided to turn to Pickett coming out of halftime. The decision to sign and ultimately start Trubisky will be debated for quite some time, but it appears his time as the Steelers starter is over after just 3 and a half games.

Grade: D

Steelers Kenny Pickett has strange NFL debut

Steelers fans finally got their wish against the Jets on Sunday when Mike Tomlin called upon Kenny Pickett to give the offense a spark. Things got off to a rough start when his first career pass was intercepted by Jets safety Jordan Whitehead. It was a bad play by both Pickett and his target Chase Claypool, but the defense picked them up with a pick by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Pickett then scored his first career touchdown on a QB sneak, drawing plenty of cheers from the Steelers home crowd.

On his next possession, Pickett orchestrated a 12-play, 82-yard drive that he finished with yet another rushing score. He showed great poise on that drive, in particular, standing firm in the pocket and delivering a great ball to Pat Freiermuth for one of his best throws of the day. His connection with fellow rookie George Pickens was also a big plus for the offense as he finished with 102 yards on six receptions. The Steelers were up 20-10 at that point, but the Jets responded with their own touchdown drive. Now up just three points, Pickett tried to hit Freiermuth late but the ball was tipped and intercepted. It was a poor decision that would cost the Steelers the win, as the Jets would run the clock down to just 16 seconds and score the game-winning touchdown to go up 24-20.

Pickett would be intercepted for the third time on a hail-mary attempt, finishing 10 of 13 for 120 yards and the two rushing scores. Despite the mixed results, the offense clearly moved the ball better and had more energy when he was out there. Tomlin wouldn’t commit to naming a QB for next week against the Bills, but it’s clear that Pickett has to be given the reigns moving forward.

Grade: C+

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