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Around the AFC North: Kenny Pickett Makes Debut, But Not Named Starting QB

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) scrambles for a touchdown against the New York Jets during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Pickett Provided Spark, But His Turnovers Were Costly

After four weeks, the quarterback controversy has clearly arrived in Pittsburgh.

Mitch Trubisky was benched at halftime in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett during the Steelers' 24-20 loss to the Jets. While Pickett rushed for two touchdowns and provided a spark after Pittsburgh trailed 10-6 at intermission, he also threw three interceptions and his turnovers were a major factor in the defeat. Pickett completed all 13 of his passes, but three were to the other team.

That left Head Coach Mike Tomlin with a dilemma. Which quarterback will start Week 5 when the Steelers (1-3) visit the Bills (3-1)? Tomlin was noncommittal after Pittsburgh's third straight loss.

"I'm not going to talk extended as we sit here," Tomlin said via Rich Cimini of "We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win the game. We'll deal with next week, next week."

A former college star at Pitt, Pickett is the people's choice and the Steelers' home crowd roared when he entered the game in the third quarter. However, the first pass of Pickett's career was an interception, then after the Steelers rallied to take a 20-10 lead, Pickett threw two more picks including one that set up New York's game-winning drive.

"You can't throw an interception there at that point in the game," Pickett said. " I can't make that mistake. It's something I need to learn from quickly and get it fixed for whenever my next opportunity comes."

Tribusky was not happy about being benched.

"It's a tough deal," he said. "It's definitely not what I wanted, not what I expected."

Asked if he thought he would start against Buffalo, Trubisky replied, "Who knows?"

Cincinnati Bengals: Two Straight Wins Move Cincinnati Into First-Place Tie, With Ravens Up Next

Some thought the Bengals (2-2) might be in trouble after dropping their first two games, but they didn't panic.

Now Cincinnati is tied for first place in the AFC North heading into Sunday night's matchup against the Ravens (2-2) at M&T Bank Stadium. Head Coach Zac Taylor likes how his team responded, especially with expectations high in Cincinnati after the Bengals were AFC champions last year.

"I love this team. I love everything about them," Taylor said via the Bengals’ website. "They didn't hesitate for one second after those first two weeks when all the noise was getting out about expectations. They didn't let that affect them for one second. They just came out and answered the bell, and responded for two consecutive weeks."

The Bengals will enter Sunday's game in Baltimore with extra rest after defeating Miami on Thursday Night Football. That could mean another heavy workload for running back Joe Mixon. Saquon Barkley of the Giants is the only NFL running back with more carries (84) than Mixon (82). Though he's averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, Mixon has also caught 17 passes and Taylor is happy about what his lead running back brings to the table.

"Everyone will look at his carries," Taylor said. "I look at his overall production and how helpful that is for us. He's a big part of our passing game and Joe Burrow has a ton of confidence in getting him the ball, knowing that it will work out."

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett Could Be Affected By Shoulder Injury for 2-4 Weeks

All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett and the passenger in his car were fortunate to avoid life-threatening injuries during his single-car accident last week.

However, Garrett did not play in Sunday's loss to the Falcons, and ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that a shoulder injury will hinder Garrett for another two to four weeks, even after he returns to action.

Schefter reported that Garrett has a sprained AC joint and also suffered cuts and bruises. However, Garrett has not ruled out returning to action as early as Week 5 against the Rams, and he told reporters his injuries could have been far worse. The Ravens play the Browns in Week 7 on Oct. 23.

"Definitely grateful to be here," Garrett said. "With what I saw right after ... the pictures, it was a helluva event."

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