The Bad: Kenny Pickett's Rough Outing
Kenny Pickett had a bad game no matter what way you look at it. It's not all his fault, which we'll get to in a moment, but for a second straight week, he was outclassed by the opposing quarterback, even with those quarterbacks having late-game turnovers.
Pickett didn't have much of an opportunity for late-game heroics to take some of the pressure off his critics either. He struggled from start to finish and it's frustrating for a fanbase that has seen him come up clutch but ultimately fail to springboard that momentum into consistency.
Pickett had two chances in the fourth quarter to make up for his early failings, one on a deep shot to Diontae Johnson, that while underthrown, was catchable. That one would have sealed the game. His second was the completion to George Pickens that was wiped away by a Calvin Austin offensive pass interference penalty.
But the focus here isn't on "what could've beens" to help us forget his poor play. He had an early pass that should have been thrown away on second down and would have been intercepted by a better defensive back with the experience to get both feet down in bounds. He had several errant throws on those deep sideline passes the offense likes to lean on. He had a pre-snap decision locked in on Warren on a third and three late that was smothered by coverage while Johnson was behind the defense for a potential touchdown.
His most egregious mistake was thankfully missed by the officials even in replay. Pickett had a routine swing route drawn up for Warren deep in the offense's own territory and threw a wobbler behind the running back who dropped the pass. Green Bay recovered this ball and would have had an easy score set up if not for the officials' decision swinging Pittsburgh's way for once.
If Pickett's rib injury is still causing him problems, then the pass concepts need to be easier throws. If it isn't, he simply has to play better.
Credit where it's due, with a ton of luck, he isn't turning the football over. But this isn't 1995. In today's league, the quarterback needs to be a difference-maker from the first play through the final double zeros, and right now, Pickett is a long, long way away from that.