5 Steelers surprises in Sunday’s loss to the Jets

Each week our SCU staff and contributors picks the “surprises” from the Pittsburgh Steelers latest matchup. Check out more below to see which plays and situations surprised us the most!

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the New York Jets for their Week 4 matchup at Acrisure Stadium.

The Steelers fell short to the Jets by a final score of 24-10. Here are some of the surprises from that game.

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The Debut of Kenny Pickett

What could’ve been more exciting than seeing the Steelers first round draft pick, QB Kenny Pickett, finally take the field on Sunday?

Granted, most of us would’ve liked to have seen Pickett formally start the game, but his inclusion sparked the Steelers offense, as he went 10/13 passing for 120 yards and ran for two touchdowns…

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Unfortunately, Pickett’s debut was marred by three interceptions as well.

Two of those passes came off of the hands of WR Chase Claypool and TE Pat Freiermuth.

QB Mitchell Trubisky, who started the first half, also threw an interception which bounced off of the fingertips of WR Diontae Johnson. (Johnson claimed the ball was tipped, but it was hard to tell on replays.)

Regardless, the Steelers skill position players let their quarterbacks down on Sunday and contributed to four total turnovers by the offense.

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Pass Rush: or Lack Thereof

The Steelers defense only got to Jets QB Zach Wilson once the entire game: a sack by LB Alex Highsmith, who incidentally happens to be the NFL’s sacks leader heading into Week 5.

However, the Steelers got to Wilson seven times (statistically) where they didn’t bring him down and had several opportunities where the second-year quarterback escaped their grasp.

The misses, as well as a lack of a rush at times, allowed the Jets to move the chains on critical third and fourth down plays throughout the end of the game, and was a huge contributing factor in the Steelers loss.

The ability to pass rush looks worse when you consider the Jets had three offensive tackles on injured reserve and a fourth that left the game Sunday.

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Boswell’s Record Field Goal

I’ve always wondered what Mike Tomlin and special teams coach Danny Smith think when the ball crosses slightly into enemy territory behind midfield?

Wonder no more, though the circumstances dictated a “why not?” approach this time.

On what would’ve been the final play before halftime, Mitchell Trubisky drew a roughing the passer penalty from the Jets, which led to an untimed down being played to extend the second quarter.

With the ball originally marked on the Steelers 44, the flag marched the new line of scrimmage up to the Jets 41-yard line. With nothing to lose and down 10-3, Tomlin sent K Chris Boswell out for a 59-yard attempt, which would be his career long as well as the longest-ever at Heinz Field/Acrisure Stadium.

Boz didn’t disappoint as the kick made it through the uprights and gave the Steelers an additional three points on the scoreboard heading into the half.

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The Loss

Overall, losing to the Jets is probably the biggest surprise to many.

Their second-year quarterback was making his season debut, playing on the road. While the above mentions of turnovers and lack of a pass rush contributed to the defeat, there’s no way the Steelers will compete with anyone when they can only muster six points in a half.

That’s why the team made the change to Kenny Pickett going forward this season, as they will quickly need to turn their fortunes around having now fallen to 1-3 on the season and only one spot (above the Houston Texans) from the bottom of the AFC standings.

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