Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett chalked up his game-sealing interception in Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins to a "miscommunication" with wideout Diontae Johnson.
"Clock winding down, I wanted to give [Johnson] a chance to make a play. ... It's just a miscommunication," Pickett said after the game (51-second mark). "I thought he was gonna come back down. He ended up going vertical. I wanted to put it high and outside and give him a chance to make a play, but that's on me there. I gotta run it there and get outta bounds or just throw it out."
Noah Igbinoghene intercepted Pickett in the Dolphins' end zone with 25 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on a play where the rookie quarterback had wide-open space in front of him to run for a first down on 2nd-and-2. It was the third pick of the game for Pickett, who has been turnover-prone in his brief NFL career.
The Pitt product has thrown seven interceptions in 127 pass attempts, giving him by far the league's highest interception rate (5.5 percent).
"I think there is some things to build on," Pickett said. "Turnovers, they can't happen. That cost us the game. I got to fix that. I'll be in there tomorrow working on it."
The Steelers, now sitting at 2-5, seem settled into a rebuilding season with Pickett at the helm. Coach Mike Tomlin also looks like a near-lock to have his first losing season in 16 seasons in Pittsburgh.
Allowing Pickett to have a trial by fire will either make him a better long-term quarterback or give the Steelers a leg up in deciding he's not the franchise face they hoped would replace Ben Roethlisberger.
There is clearly work to be done, both with Pickett's decision-making and his chemistry with receivers. As much as practice works as a good simulation, there's no replacement for Pickett getting on the field and making these calls in real time—even if they sometimes cost the Steelers a win.