At least that was the general reaction Pickett received after the game from writers and sports personalities on X (formerly Twitter) who cover the team and the league.
“Kenny Pickett had every opportunity to win this game today,” wrote The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Christopher Carter. “No excuses for him.
“Defense did what it was supposed to do time and time again. But you can’t win with that little bit of production. And again, the plays are there. Play calls aren’t the issue.”
Pickett finished 15 for 28 with 106 passing yards. He didn’t throw an interception, which extended his streak of not throwing an interception to 175 attempts. That’s the longest current streak in the NFL.
But he also didn’t have a touchdown. He threw for fewer yards than running back Jaylen Warren’s 129 rushing yards.
“Kenny Pickett has reached Kent Graham levels right now,” The Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora wrote. “This is miserable.”
Graham spent nine years in the NFL as a career backup quarterback. In 2000 with the Steelers, he led Pittsburgh to a 2-3 record but completed just 44.6% of his passes for an average of 5.9 yards per attempt.
In addition to Pickett, Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada received a lot of heat on X for the performance against the Browns. But Kozora saw Canada’s game plan a reflection of Pickett.
“Says a lot when the Browns gameplay with Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Steelers with Kenny Pickett are virtually identical.”
Thompson-Robinson made just his second career start in Week 11 versus the Steelers. He is a fifth-round rookie. Pickett is a second-year quarterback who was in his 22nd start after being a first-round choice.
“Dorion Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round rookie QB did more than Kenny Pickett, a first-round QB,” The Score’s Daniel Valente wrote.
“Today was Pickett’s 22nd start and there’s barely anything that makes you believe he can be the Steelers’ long-term QB.”
Steelers’ Kenny Pickett Worst QB in AFC North?
When all the quarterbacks in the AFC North are healthy, it’s hard not to view Pickett as the worst of the bunch. But before Week 11, he was also the least experienced with Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson the other signal callers in the division.
Even still, after his 106-yard performance on November 19, The Football Guys’ Dave Kluge proposed that Pickett may still be the worst signal caller in the division.
“In a division currently starting Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Jake Browning, Kenny Pickett may be the worst QB.”
By no means did Thompson-Robinson light up the stat sheet in Week 11. He completed 24 of 43 passes for 165 yards and an interception.
But he had 4 completions for 39 yards on Cleveland’s game-winning field-goal drive late in the fourth quarter.
Coming into Week 11, Pickett was the signal caller with the late-game heroics. Before November 19, he had a 101.5 passer rating in the fourth quarter and an NFL-leading 3 fourth-quarter comebacks this season.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has stressed to the media the past few weeks that the next step for Pickett is to play that well before the fourth quarter. But he hasn’t, and Pittsburgh Sports Now’s Mike J. Asti’s patience appears to be growing thin.
“Having an ‘it’ factor isn’t enough. Kenny Pickett is not showing signs of process,” Asti wrote. “As much as it’s not fair to give up on a guy early in his career, and the Steelers certainly won’t be, there’s just no way to deny he’s not showing what he should as a guy who will be your franchise QB.”
Pickett Fails to Complete Fourth-Quarter Comeback vs. Browns
As bad as Pickett was in Week 11, the Steelers were in a position twice to take a fourth-quarter lead against the Browns.
A poor Cleveland punt set up Pickett and the offense at the Steelers 48-yard line with 5:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. Pickett then completed a pass to George Pickens for a 12-yard gain to begin the drive.
But the Steelers accumulated negative-3 yards over the next three plays and had to punt at the Cleveland 43.
Pickett had another chance for a game-winning drive with 1:42 left at the Steelers 30-yard line. But Pickett threw 3 straight incompletions, which not only meant the Steelers weren’t going to be able to kick a field goal, but they had to punt to give the ball back to Cleveland.
Thompson-Robinson took advantage of his extra opportunity in regulation to lead the Browns on a field-goal drive.
Pickett and the Steelers will return to Ohio for another road division matchup against a rookie quarterback and the Bengals in Week 12.