Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett isn’t happy about a hit he took at the end of a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday — and believes there may have been some bad intentions behind it.
Pickett was scrambling to escape pressure late in the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s 38-3 win when he was hit low by Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson. Pickett grew heated after the hit, shoving Lawson and sparking a scrum that resulted in Bills edge rusher A.J. Epenesa being ejected for making contact with an official.
After the game, Pickett sounded off about the play and leveled an accusation against Lawson.
Pickett Believes Bills Defender Hit Late
Speaking to reporters after the loss, Pickett said he believes that Lawson came in too late and hit him too low.
“From my opinion, I felt like he went after my knee after I threw it,” Pickett said, via ESPN. “That’s it. You know, tempers flare. I don’t care, I’m gonna keep playing to the last play of the game. That was it. All good with me.”
Lawson was not flagged for the play, though Pickett was actually given a penalty for unnecessary roughness for shoving Lawson. The Bills defensive end could still face potential discipline, as the NFL reviews plays during the week and often retroactively imposes fines for plays, whether they were flagged as unnecessary roughness or not.
Lawson made an early exit from the game after the hit, joining Epenesa in going to the locker room. The Bills had gotten in trouble earlier in the season for some post-game antics, with backup offensive lineman Bobby Hart being hit with a one-game suspension for getting into a scuffle with a Tennessee Titans player as the teams were leaving the field after Buffalo’s win.
Pickett Took Another Late Hit
Pickett was involved in another controversial hit earlier in the game, with Bills safety Damar Hamlin hitting the Steelers quarterback just after he started a slide. Officials did not flag Hamlin, who said after the game that he had no ill intent in hitting his former college teammate.
“I wasn’t going to hurt him, I’m not going to play dirty, He knows that,” Hamlin said, via SteelersNow. “I’m just playing within the lines of the game. If you’re supposed to slide, you’ve got to slide.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin also backed up Hamlin, though said he believed the hit should have been flagged.
“I had a problem that officials didn’t have a problem (with the hit),” Tomlin said, via TribLive.com. “Not necessarily Hamlin. I love Hamlin. He’s a 412er. He plays hard. He’s a good kid. I have a problem with the fact it wasn’t officiated in the way I anticipated it being officiated.”
Despite the blowout loss and his defense’s inability to stop Josh Allen and the Bills on offense, Pickett had a rather strong start to his career as an NFL starter. He completed 34 of 52 passes for 327 yards, showing poise in completing a number of key third-down plays though failing to get his team into the endzone.