The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in the final moments by a score of 24-20. The offense struggled in the first half, promoting Mike Tomlin to make the move to bench Mitch Trubisky in the second half in favor of rookie, QB Kenny Pickett who managed to come in and give the offense a spark to the tune of two rushing TDs. HC Mike Tomlin after the game stated that he put Pickett in at the half to try and provide a spark for what was a stagnant offense that couldn’t get anything going under Mitch Trubisky in the first half of action.
When the media interviewed players in the locker room following the loss and asked their thoughts on what Pickett did for the offense in the second half, they reiterated the comments of their head coach.
“I think you guys could see with the stands in the stadium, it was a big spark,” Pat Freiermuth said in the locker room regarding Pickett on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page. “He was calm. It’s like he was in that situation before.”
“He came in and the crowd was like happy for him again and that made us get it going and put points on the board,” Diontae Johnson said on Pickett when he entered the game, on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page.
It was clear that Pittsburgh received a jolt once Pickett entered the game to start the third quarter as Acrisure Stadium erupted with cheers and applause for their long-awaited rookie QB to take the field. He managed to complete nearly 77% of his passes while rushing for two scores, but also threw three INTs after two passes got batted into the air, and one came on the final play from scrimmage in a desperation heave to the end zone. Still, the fans as well as the noticeably rallied around their first-round QB in the second half as Pickett showed a calm demeanor and kept plays alive with his legs and made some good throws on Pittsburgh’s back-to-back TD drives.
It remains to be seen whether Pickett will remain the Steelers’ starting QB going forward, but the fans got what they have been waiting for, and the players also acknowledged the spark Pickett provided the team. If Mike Tomlin is looking to avoid any mixed feelings in the locker room after today’s performance, we very well may see Pickett get his first NFL start next weekend.