The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Sunday with a 4-2 record despite fielding one of the NFL's worst offenses.
They leave at 4-3 after a 20-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and more concerns around a tepid attack that lost quarterback Kenny Pickett to a rib injury. The Jaguars, meanwhile, won their fifth straight game to improve to 6-2 and take command of the AFC South.
Pickett left the game with a rib injury in the second quarter and didn't return. He was injured on a hit by Jaguars defensive lineman Adam Gotsis. Gotsis hit Pickett on an incomplete pass, and Pickett hit the turf hard on his right side.
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) October 29, 2023
Pickett warmed up after halftime, but backup Mitchell Trubisky led the Steelers' offense to the field in the third quarter as Pittsburgh ruled out Pickett. It didn't matter much who played quarterback for the Steelers, who struggled to move the ball regardless.
Pickett completed 10 of 16 passes for 73 yards prior to his injury. He left the game having failed to lead a touchdown drive with Jacksonville leading 9-3. Pittsburgh's first four drives of the game ended in three-and-out punts.
Trubisky led the Steelers to their only touchdown of the day with an eight-play, 75-yard drive in the third quarter. He committed both of Pittsburgh's turnovers on the day starting with a fourth-quarter interception that helped seal Jacksonville's victory.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) October 29, 2023
Trubisky finished the day completing 15 of 27 passes for 137 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His second pick ended the game on a failed Hail Mary in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
It added up to another frustrating day for Pittsburgh's offense, which entered the game ranked 31st in the NFL in yards per game (273.5) and 27th in points (17.2). The Steelers managed 261 yards of offense Sunday on 4.1 yards per play. By contrast, the Jaguars averaged 5.8 yards per play en route to 377 yards of offense.
Making matters worse in Pittsburgh, the Steelers also lost All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to a hamstring injury in the first quarter. Fitzpatrick fell to the turf with the non-contact injury and was quickly ruled out after leaving the game.
Pickett's long-term status wasn't immediately clear. He appeared to test out his injury before the Steelers decided that he couldn't return to the game after halftime. Even if he's able to return in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans (3-4), the Steelers don't look close to solving the quarterback problem that's vexed them since Ben Roethlisberger retired following the 2021 season.