Steelers lose QB Kenny Pickett to rib injury late in first half vs. Jaguars, replaced by Trubisky

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett's bumpy second season took another abrupt turn on Sunday when he exited a 20-10 loss to Jacksonville with a rib injury.

The Steelers were driving late in the first half when Pickett was hit by Jacksonville defensive end Adam Gotsis near midfield after releasing an incomplete pass. Pickett grabbed his chest as he made his way off the field.

Mitch Trubisky played the final offensive snap of the first half for Pittsburgh. Pickett came out to warm up at the start of the second half but remained on the sideline while Trubisky finished the game.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Pickett warming up was “not reflective of (his) intentions” to play. Tomlin said he had “no understanding” on the severity of Pickett's injury. The Steelers (4-3) host Tennessee (3-4) on Thursday night.

This is the second time Trubisky has come in for Pickett this season. Trubisky played in the second half of a 30-6 loss to Houston in Week 4 after Pickett left with a bone bruise in his knee. Pickett recovered in time to start the following week against Baltimore.

Pickett completed 10 of 16 passes for 73 yards against Jacksonville as Pittsburgh's offense sputtered yet again. The Steelers needed four possessions to generate a single first down, though a handful of drops — most notably by wide receiver Diontae Johnson on the first snap of the game on a play deep down the middle of the field — didn't help.

“It was (on the) tip of my fingers, my right hand,” Johnson said. “It was one of those situations where I have to keep running and just make the catch. There’s no excuses.”

Johnson and Pickett also failed to connect on a touchdown pass in the second quarter when Pickett threw slightly behind an open Johnson and the wide receiver slipped on the soggy Acrisure Stadium turf while trying to adjust.

Trubisky went 15 of 27 for 138 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including a poor throw into triple coverage early in the fourth quarter with the Steelers trailing by a touchdown. The Jaguars drove down for a field goal that extended the lead to 10.

Trubisky has made one start since Pickett took over the starting job five weeks into the 2022 season: a workmanlike victory over Carolina last December.