HOUSTON — The Steelers gave quarterback Mitch Trubisky a new three-year contract during the offseason for one simple reason: They wanted to make sure they had a dependable security blanket behind Kenny Pickett.
Part of that decision was based on what they saw last season, when Trubisky had to either come off the bench or start a game when Pickett was injured. He played so well in those three games it was arguably the most consistent the offense performed all season.
That made the Steelers think they had a reliable relief pitcher in the bullpen.
Now he could be getting a chance to do it again. And the offense could use it after another failed effort in a 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans.
"We know what Mitch can do and we have trust in Mitch whenever he's got to go in," center Mason Cole said.
Pickett had an MRI to determine the extent of the injury to his left knee, sustained in the fourth quarter when he was sacked on a 4th-and-1 play. The Steelers do not believe it is ACL-related, but it has not been determined how long he will be out.
When faced with a similar situation last year when Pickett sustained a pair of concussions, Trubisky played more freely and confidently than he did when he started the first four games of the 2022 season. He completed 75% of his passes for 599 yards and averaged 9.4 yards per attempt. His passer rating was 94.47.
It started when he came off the bench in the second half against Tampa Bay and completed 9 of 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown in a 20-18 victory. His passer rating was 142.4.
On Dec. 11, he came off the bench again against the Baltimore Ravens — Sunday's opponent at Acrisure Stadium — and completed 22 of 30 attempts for 276 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers had a season-high 23 first downs. But three second-half interceptions cost them in a 16-14 defeat.
Trubisky started the following week in Carolina and led the Steelers to a 24-16 victory, completing 17 of 22 attempts for 179 yards with no interceptions. His passer rating was 100.4.
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