Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett calls out low hit after loss

ORCHARD PARK, NY — Looking for a place to throw the ball late in the fourth quarter during Sunday’s 38-3 loss, Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett crawled to the sidelines at Highmark Stadium, with the defenseman from Buffalo Bills, Shaq Lawson, was hot on his heels.

As the rookie quarterback got rid of the ball, Lawson dove deep and grabbed Pickett below his waist to bring him to the ground. Pickett took offense at the hit and shoved the defensive end as he picked himself up off the turf.

Pickett didn’t stop there and briefly pursued Lawson until Chukwuma Okorafor was tackled on the left and the rest of the Steelers’ offensive linemen stepped in to end the scuffle.

“In my opinion, after I threw it, I felt like he went for my knee,” Pickett said. “That’s it. You know, tempers flare up. I don’t care, I’ll keep playing until the last turn of the game. That was it. All good for me.”

Pickett was penalized for unnecessary rudeness, while Bill’s defensive end AJ Epenesa, who jumped into the scrum after the start, was also flagged for unnecessary rudeness and ejected. Lawson left the game shortly after, calling back to the field as he headed into the locker room. He declined to talk about the hit postgame.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin supported his quarterback’s response, calling it “appropriate.”

It wasn’t the first time Pickett made extra contact in the Steelers’ blowout loss. Pickett, who had 34 of 52 attempts for 327 yards with an interception in his first career start, was also hit by Buffalo defenseman Damar Hamlin when he went down a slide in the third quarter. Hamlin came in when Pickett was already going into his chute, and Steelers offensive lineman James Daniels jumped to Pickett’s defense and shoved Hamlin after the game, starting a minor melee between the two teams near the Bills’ touchline.

Officials said the hit was “legal action” and Daniels was booed for unnecessary rudeness. After that, neither Pickett nor Tomlin had a problem with Hamlin, a Pitt product and collegiate teammate of Pickett’s, but they felt Hamlin should have been called for rude to the passerby.

“I had a problem that the officers didn’t have a problem, not necessarily Hamlin,” said Tomlin, later referring to his ties to Pittsburgh using the local area code. “I love Ham. He’s a 412. he plays hard He’s a good kid. I had an issue with it not being directed the way I expected it to be.”

While Pickett threw for over 300 yards and had multiple completions of 20+ yards on his debut, the Steelers’ offense managed just three points after going 0-on-4 in the red zone. Kicker Chris Boswell also missed two field goal attempts, and the Steelers recorded their worst loss since a 51-0 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the 1989 season opener.

“Up close, we didn’t score any points,” Pickett said. “That’s the most important. We have to be much better in the red zone. It felt like we moved the ball but we just couldn’t finish. It’s something we need to fix quickly and get back to the drawing board here on Monday.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34763815/pittsburgh-steelers-qb-kenny-pickett-calls-low-hit-loss-felt-went-my-knee Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett calls out low hit after loss

Emma Bowman

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