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‘I Definitely Wish I Would’ve Ran It’ Kenny Pickett Says Of Final INT Sunday

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already managed to find numerous ways to lose games this season, having dropped five of their five seven. While the 35-point blowout at the hands of the Buffalo Bills a couple of weeks ago certainly stung, however, perhaps none was more painful than that on Sunday night.

That is because we all had to watch our shiny new anointed franchise quarterback, rookie first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett, essentially blow the game with two back-breaking interceptions thrown in the final minutes of the game. The second was the worst of all, passing up an opportunity to scramble and gain significant yardage to help set up a potential game-winning touchdown.

Instead, he threw the ball what looked in hindsight directly to the defender, who intercepted the ball at the pylon, because he anticipated his intended receiver, Diontae Johnson, to break that way. Clearly that’s not how he envisioned that throw going, but he realizes now that he shouldn’t have attempted it at all.

“It’s easy to say watching it that I wish I would’ve ran it. Looking back on it, I definitely wish I would have ran it”, he told reporters yesterday, via the team’s YouTube page. “With the defender’s back to me thinking that ‘Tae was going to go to that front pylon, I want to give ‘Tae a chance to make a play at the end of the day”.

Johnson is the Steelers’ number one wide receiver, certainly the leader in targets, though rookie George Pickens has overtaken the lead in receiving yardage. But the former will always receive a high volume of targets because he is one of the most skilled players in the NFL at getting open.

Like Ben Roethlisberger before him, Pickett feels that temptation to throw to the open man, and when you have a player with Johnson’s ability to get open, sometimes you trust that he will. And sometimes you have to predict the way that he is going to flash open. It didn’t work out this time.

“He’s an unbelievable player, we just had a miscommunication”, Pickett said of his pass attempt looking for Johnson in the end zone on the Steelers’ final offensive play of the game, which resulted in his third interception. “It’s something that we’re working on, and we’ll definitely get right. It won’t happen again”.

It’s easy to say something won’t happen again, but the young quarterback already has seven interceptions on the season from which to learn lessons, and it’s fair to say that they’re starting to add up.

On the other hand, the Steelers are past the point at which they can turn back from Pickett. The remainder of this season is about him learning and growing. Of course they’re going to try to win games along the way, but benching him would be shocking. Because if he plays poorly enough to get benched, they’re going to be well out of contention anyway.

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