The Kenny Pickett era seems to have begun.
Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback entered the game for Mitchell Trubisky on the first offensive possession of the second half in their 24-20 loss to the New York Jets.
Trubisky’s benching came after a listless first half from a Steelers offense that mustered just eight first downs in seven possessions, and failed to reach the red zone. After two quarters of play, the Trubisky-led offense gained just 147 yards of total offense and six points, three of which were aided by a Jets’ penalty that led to a 59-yard Chris Boswell field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter.
Trubisky completed 7 of 13 passes for 84 yards and one interception at the time of his benching.
On five possessions, Pickett completed 10 of 13 attempts for 120 yards. The rookie tallied two rushing touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions.
Pickett’s first NFL possession didn’t go swimmingly, but the rookie QB was quickly given the ball in a crucial situation.
Faced with a fourth-and-1 at their own 31-yard line, Pickett’s number was called with a successful QB sneak. Two plays later, Pickett looked for Chase Claypool downfield, but it was Jets safety Jordan Whitehead that came down with an interception on Pickett’s first-career pass.
The Steelers quickly got the ball back after Minkah Fitzpatrick caught a tipped pass for an INT, and Pickett’s number was called once again at the goal line, scoring the team’s first touchdown of the day on a QB sneak.
Pickett’s first career TD gave the Steelers a 13-10 lead over the Jets.
The rookie QB’s second pick, with Pittsburgh up three points and in Jets territory with 3:42 left in the game, gave New York the ball back with enough time to tie or win the game. The Jets ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown with 18 seconds left.
Pickett and the Steelers got the ball back and made it to the Jets’ 48, thanks to a 27-yard completion to Pickens. But Pickett’s Hail Mary on the final play of the game was picked off in the back of the end zone, and Pittsburgh fell to 1-3.