The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially made a change at the quarterback position, naming rookie Kenny Pickett the starter under center after replacing Mitch Trubisky at halftime of the Steelers’ Week 4 loss to the New York Jets.
Trubisky, who started the first four games of the regular season, struggled in the first half against New York, completing seven of 13 passes for 84 yards and an interception. Pittsburgh managed just six points in the first half, prompting head coach Mike Tomlin to turn to Pickett in the second half.
The move seemed inevitable at some point this season, but Steelers big man Ben Roethlisberger was surprised by the timing.
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“I was shocked. To me, the whole offense was stagnant,” Roethlisberger said this week on his podcast.
“They don’t carry the ball very well,” he continued. “Nothing really happens. But for me, when you throw it away [Trubisky], I understand what you are trying to do. You are trying to create a spark. Which, I think happened… When you put someone new in a position like that, it creates a kind of spark. It will create energy. That will do.”
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Pickett gave a spark for Pittsburgh in their half of the game against New York, scoring the Steelers’ only two touchdowns of the game on the field in a 24–20 loss.
Pickett struggled, however, as the rookie threw three interceptions on 13 attempts, though one of his interceptions came on a last-second Hail Mary.
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“But in my opinion, I didn’t know it was supposed to happen,” Roethlisberger said. “But Mike’s [Tomlin] the coach He has done it.
“I heard the stadium going crazy. It obviously energized the defense, the fans, the offense. Minkah [Fitzpatrick] get this pick of six. Everything is falling into place.”
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Pickett’s first start will be a tough matchup against the 3-1 Bills and a defense that allows the fewest yards per game. The Bills have given up three touchdowns through the air while picking up seven interceptions.