Steelers utterly embarrassed by Bills in Kenny Pickett’s starting debut
Pittsburgh Steelers fans don’t have a lot to write home about after getting massacred by the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. Here’s why this was a game to forget.
There are so many problems with this football team that I don’t even know where to start. At no point did I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to be able to steal a win on the road against an uber-talented Buffalo Bills team this week, but I did think the game would be a bit closer than it was.
On the Still Curtain Podcast this week, I predicted the Steelers would ultimately lose 31-20. Who would have known that this production would prove to be nothing more than a pipe dream?
Things couldn’t have gone worse in Kenny Pickett’s first NFL start. The defense quickly got this team a hole after surrendering a 99-yard touchdown pass to Josh Allen as he was backed up into his own endzone. From there, Pittsburgh fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Bills recovered in Steelers territory.
While a blocked field goal gave Pittsburgh fans a glimmer of hope early in the first quarter, that light quickly faded as Allen and the Bills immediately racked up the points on their inferior opponent. The Steelers trailed 10-3 in the first quarter, but a 21-0 run in quarter number two quickly put this game out of reach.
In the second half, any shot of a comeback was unrealistic. Though Pickett did have some encouraging drives as Buffalo resorted to its prevent defense, the Steelers weren’t able to mount any more points for the remainder of the game as drives stalled and Pittsburgh failed on fourth downs.
This was simply a disaster from the start. Prior to this game, the Steelers haven’t lost a game by 35 points since 1989. That streak has now ended with a 38-3 loss on the road against the Bills in Week 5. Pickett finished his first start completing 34 of 52 passes for 327 yards with 0 touchdowns and 1 interception, via ESPN stats.
Kenny Pickett shows fire despite Steelers brutal loss
It’s hard to take a lot away from Pickett’s offensive performance in this contest. When the Bills were up big, their defensive game plan changed. As expected, Matt Canada’s game plan for his quarterback seemed pretty scripted — especially early in the game. The Steelers ran often on first down and a handful of predictable QB rollouts were thrown into the mix.
In the second half, Pickett seemed to have a little more free range, but he wasn’t able to make much happen down the field. The rookie quarterback did, however, show some of his fire and passion in this contest.
In the third quarter, former Pitt teammate Damar Hamlin took a shot a Pickett as he was sliding. James Daniels quickly came to his defense and was ejected for his retaliation. In the fourth quarter, Pickett was clearly livid when Shaq Lawson took a shot at his knees on fourth down with the Bills already up 35 points with under two minutes remaining in the game. Pickett was having none of it as he quickly shoved Lawson to the ground after a hit that nearly buckled the left knee of the Steelers first-round pick.
I like to see that fire from Pickett, but he’s going to have to show much more on offense in the future if he is to lead his team to any sort of success. Kenny Pickett is still very early in his NFL career, but he definitely has that energy and fire that you hope for, and it’s clear that his teammates have his back. Now it’s time to put this ugly performance behind them and start planning for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.