Steelers' Kenny Pickett, OC Canada Ripped by Fans After Blowout Loss to 49ers

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) evades pressure from San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)
AP Photo/Matt Durisko

In the battle of second-year quarterbacks, Brock Purdy reigned supreme over Kenny Pickett on Sunday, and it wasn't particularly close.

The San Francisco 49ers' signal-caller threw for 220 yards and two scores, leading his team to a 30-7 blowout win over Pickett the Pittsburgh Steelers.


The first Sunday touchdown of the year belongs to Purdy, Brandon Aiyuk and the <a href="https://twitter.com/49ers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@49ers</a>! <br><br>📺: FOX <a href="https://t.co/QzfDRDb6QM">pic.twitter.com/QzfDRDb6QM</a>


THAT'S A TD CATCH 🙌<br><br>Two feet in for Brandon Aiyuk's second touchdown of the day!<br><br>📺: FOX <a href="https://t.co/OVVucuv1BS">pic.twitter.com/OVVucuv1BS</a>

While Purdy thrived, Pickett and the Pittsburgh offense labored. Actually, that might be an understatement. The Steelers' quarterback threw for 232 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while being sacked five times.

So poor was the unit on the day that it took the Steelers' offense until nearly the final minute of the first half to even get a first down.


steelers fans are straight up not having a good time<br><br>📺: FOX <a href="https://t.co/w05jBmAG9h">pic.twitter.com/w05jBmAG9h</a>

Pittsburgh's offense mustered just 239 yards from scrimmage. They only ran for 41 yards. They didn't so much manage a first down until their sixth drive. They reached the red zone twice in total, and had a turnover on downs on the second such drive after an incompletion on a 4th-and-4 attempt.

It was rough, and NFL fans on social media didn't hold back on the malaise they were forced to endure from Pickett, offensive coordinator Matt Canada and the offense on the whole:

Trill Withers @TylerIAm

I ate the preseason Steelers garbage <a href="https://t.co/2m7qe1TNxu">pic.twitter.com/2m7qe1TNxu</a>

Robby Kalland @RKalland

"damn, 24?!" - kenny pickett <a href="https://t.co/fyLuVrwIVt">https://t.co/fyLuVrwIVt</a>

Matt Maiocco @MaioccoNBCS

Remember when it was a thing that the Steelers scored a touchdown on all five drives Kenny Pickett played during the preseason?

Dwain McFarland @dwainmcfarland

Kenny Pickett.<br><br>Preseason against backups.<br><br>vs.<br><br>Week 1 against the 49ers. <a href="https://t.co/T2HUu4mIlc">pic.twitter.com/T2HUu4mIlc</a>

Jake Ciely @allinkid

Remember when Pickett looked great this preseason <a href="https://t.co/HgSVQNZExR">pic.twitter.com/HgSVQNZExR</a>

Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly

Steelers in-house entertainment just played Metallica's 'Sad but True." <br><br>Maybe not the perfect song choice today

Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny

This could probably be going worse for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> but frankly it's hard to imagine how.

Jim Weber @JimMWeber

Buddy, the Pittsburgh Steelers look HORRIBLE. <a href="https://t.co/rAMdCZFPUM">pic.twitter.com/rAMdCZFPUM</a>

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

The 2023 Steelers bandwagon has broken down and we don't have food or water please call for help.

ryan wilson @ryanwilsonCBS

So weird how the Steelers offense cooks in the two-minute drill but looks blackout drunk the other 56 minutes. Just can't put my finger on the one variable that might be the culprit. 🇨🇦

Annie Agar @AnnieAgar

matt canada leaving the field at the half <a href="https://t.co/63f7rgHTJ3">pic.twitter.com/63f7rgHTJ3</a>


I call him Matt Canada because he's rarely offensive

But hey, at least T.J. Watt was on one:

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

T. J. Watt with his THIRD sack of the day 🔥<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@steelers</a>)<a href="https://t.co/hjMj8hho9T">pic.twitter.com/hjMj8hho9T</a>

So there was that. A small consolation in Pittsburgh, but it was something.

Purdy and the Niners, meanwhile, looked 100 percent like the trendy Super Bowl pick they were over the summer. The former Iowa quarterback impressed, though some of the reaction to his performance might have gone a bit far:

Raheem Palmer @iamrahstradamus

Brock Purdy might just be the new Brady.

Purdy wasn't perfect on the day, taking three sacks and losing a fumble. But he was very clearly the best quarterback on the field, and more than justified his place as San Fran's starter (and further justified Trey Lance's trade to Dallas).

While the Niners look to be on track as contenders, the Steelers have plenty of work to do on the offensive side of the ball. Granted, starting the season against San Francisco's excellent defense is no easy task. Offenses tend to take a bit longer than defenses rounding into form to start the season, and a stout defense can further jam up the works.

But Sunday was ugly with a capital "U" for Picket and the Steelers. It was the sort of game the entire Steel City will try to erase from its collective memory, and quickly.