After yet another ineffective effort from starting QB Mason Rudolph, it’s time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to turn to backup Devlin Hodges for a spark.
Though the Pittsburgh Steelers came away with a win in Week 12 over division rival Cincinnati Bengals, it was not a pretty victory. Against the NFL’s only winless team, the expectation was that the Steelers would blow the Bengals out, especially after last week’s high-emotion loss. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, especially on the offensive side of the ball. It wasn’t until Mason Rudolph, after yet another poor start, was benched in favor of Devlin Hodges in the third quarter that the team finally seemed to wake up. After seeing Rudolph struggle as the Steelers starter all season long, it’s become clear- this switch to Hodges should remain in effect for the rest of the season.
As soon as Hodges entered Sunday’s game, the Steelers offense responded to their new passer, immediately scoring on a huge 81-yard catch-and-run to James Washington. Hodges didn’t do anything particularly special on the play, but he did put the ball in the right place at the right time, and that’s something Rudolph has struggled to do with consistency. With a strong defense and some talented pieces at the offensive skill positions, the Steelers don’t need a flashy quarterback, they just need a consistent one.
The Steelers have given Rudolph a fair chance to prove himself as a capable starter, but it’s become clear that he just can’t handle that responsibility. With their 2018 third-rounder under center, this has been an unimaginative, ugly offense and in a season where the Steelers are unlikely to win the division, they can’t afford to lose because their passing offense can’t produce.
Is Hodges the team’s long-term answer at the position? Probably not. Obviously, when Ben Roethlisberger is healthy next season, he will undoubtedly return to his starting job. That said, this season should not continue with Rudolph holding back the entire offense. It’s time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to move on and give Devlin Hodges the starting role moving forward.