Much like Dan Moore, I was unable to block out this intrusive thought on Sunday: If the entire season snowballs into chaos—the Steelers can’t overcome their early major injuries, the defense never meshes, the offense looks out of sorts all year, and Kenny Pickett plays like the 2022 version of Zach Wilson—and the Steelers finish, like, 3-14… do they draft Caleb Williams?
If you’re unaware, Caleb Williams is a Heisman-winning quarterback from USC who possesses Josh Allen’s mobility and Patrick Mahomes’ everything else and is the reason the Arizona Cardinals gleefully stockpiled draft capital for the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s amazing.
The above-mentioned circumstance is purely hypothetical and if I had to put money on it, I would say it is categorically more likely that the Steelers trip upwards into 8 or 9 wins than it is they get the first pick in the draft. And it is Week 1, so openly speculating about the future of the assumed franchise quarterback after one bad game against arguably the best team in the NFL is pessimistic and fatalist. But this is a blog, and as such I am not adherent to the constraints to which Serious Football Journalists are bound, so here we are.
Anyway, we’ll set this week’s index at 6.5/10.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line and designed schematics didn’t do Pickett any favors against the Niners, but it isn’t as if he helped matters, either. He missed a handful of easy throws (including a surefire touchdown to Diontae Johnson, who deserves a touchdown at this point) and threw 2 interceptions. The first was a bit fluky and wasn’t really anyone’s fault as much as it was rotten luck, but the second one—which resulted from Pickett throwing into double-coverage from a clean pocket—was brutal.
Context matters here, yes, because the aforementioned second interception came with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a game that was basically already over, but it was still a bad play, and finishing that drive with a touchdown could have provided the offense with something positive to build upon heading into next week.