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Pittsburgh Steelers wideout George Pickens has become the subject of criticism this week after fans called out his lack of effort during Pittsburgh's 30-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He showed no urgency to take down Julian Blackmon, who recorded an interception off of Mitch Trubisky in the fourth quarter, and didn't block for teammate Jaylen Warren on what could have been a touchdown.

On Tuesday, Pickens addressed his failure to block for his teammate, explaining his decision to let up on his assignment. 

"I was trying to prevent a Tank Dell situation," Pickens said, via The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Dell, the rookie phenom of the Houston Texans, suffered a fractured fibula earlier this month after getting folded awkwardly while blocking on a run play at the goal line. 

"I didn't want to get injured," Pickens said. "When you stay in and block somebody, you can get run on very easily."

Pickens tried to point to the fact that everyone on the team is disappointed with the Steelers being on a three-game losing streak, not just him.

"Everybody is mad when you lose," Pickens said. "A lot of media guys want to say it's my frustrations, but it's losing. I'm pretty sure everyone is mad, not just me."

Pickens has caught 52 passes for 814 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games played this season. While he's on track to surpass his rookie-season numbers, Pickens has not experienced the kind of explosion some anticipated he would in 2023.

The Steelers, who are now 7-7 and on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, saw their playoff chances drop from 80% to under 5% during this losing streak, per SportsLine. Pittsburgh has scored 18 or fewer points in five straight games, and it recorded just 216 yards of total offense vs. Indianapolis. That number marked a season low.