PITTSBURGH (AP) — It’s Kenny Pickett time for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The rookie quarterback made his NFL debut in the second half on Sunday against the New York Jets, coming in after starter Mitch Trubisky was hit late near the end of the first half.
Pickett, taken 20th overall by the Steelers as the heir apparent to the retired Ben Roethlisberger, received a massive ovation from the Acrisure Stadium crowd. Pickett starred in the same stadium while playing for the University of Pittsburgh.
Pickett entered with the Steelers trailing 10-6. His first drive ended with an interception by New York safety Jordan Whitehead, who briefly played with Pickett with the Panthers in 2017.
Trubisky, signed to a two-year deal in March, completed 7 of 13 yards for 84 yards with an interception in the first half. He was drilled by New York defensive lineman Carl Lawson while throwing a desperation pass to end the first half.
The pass was intercepted but was called back when Lawson was flagged for a late hit. The penalty allowed Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell to hit a career-best 59-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
The team made no injury announcement on Trubisky, who walked onto the field in a baseball cap to start the second half.
Trubisky, who had been the target of criticism during Pittsburgh’s 1-2 start, said during the week he was intent on tuning out the noise.
The noise continued during a shaky first half in which the sellout crowd chanted regularly for Pickett. Those chants were answered when Pickett’s No. 8 strode out onto the field.
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