I wrote earlier today in my pregame article that we were not going to see Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin pull Mitch Trubisky in favor of rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett barring something extraordinary. Trubisky’s subpar play could hardly be described as an extraordinary circumstance, so here I am eating my post-game crow.
Trubisky completed seven of 13 passes during the first half for all of 84 yards with an interception, taking three sacks, the Steelers taking a 10-6 deficit into halftime. When they exited the locker room, Trubisky had a baseball cap on and Pickett was in a helmet. You know what happened after that.
The veteran quarterback spoke in the locker room after the game about his benching. “Didn’t connect, didn’t score enough points, got pulled at halftime. It’s just business as usual. Just have to find a way to pull together as a team and get better from here”, he said, from video from Chris Adamski out of the locker room, adding that he had no expectations of how next week will go.
“Just come into work, be a good teammate, continue to try to be a leader for this team, and go back to work and help any way I can. It’s a tough deal”, he added. “It’s definitely not what I wanted, not what I expected, but’s part of it”.
Following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, the Steelers signed Trubisky in March as an unrestricted free agent, and it certainly seemed every step along the way during the offseason that the intention was for him to start, even after using their first-round pick on Pickett.
Pickett had a good offseason, especially during the preseason, but had been on the bench up until the second half of today’s game. He did spark a comeback, leading two touchdown drives, both of them ending on rushing touchdowns that he took in himself—including a quarterback sneak.
He finished completing 10 of 13 pass attempts for 120 yards, with three interceptions, one of which was an end-game Hail Mary pass. The other two were also off the hands of receivers, but not ideally placed. The second interception in particular was a poor decision, throwing under duress to Pat Freiermuth.
Still, he did provide a ‘spark’ to the offense, and while both Tomlin and Trubisky are expressing uncertainty over what the quarterback situation will be next week, I think we all know there’s no going back now.