Steelers bench Devlin Hodges for Mason Rudolph during Jets game
With the Pittsburgh Steelers gunning for the last Wild Card spot in the AFC playoffs, there can be little to no margin for error. In Sunday’s Week 16 matchup on the road against the New York Jets, the Steelers had to bench rookie undrafted quarterback Devlin Hodges in favor of Mason Rudolph after “Duck” threw two first-half interceptions.
Hodges started the game throwing 7/9 for 53 yards. However, both incompletions were picks the 23-year-old Samford product thrown to Jets defenders.
Pittsburgh benching Hodges comes one week after the Steelers signal-caller threw four interceptions against the Buffalo Bills in the single-touchdown-deficit loss to the AFC rival. Entering Sunday’s matchup with the 5-9 New York squad, Duck had already been walking on eggshells, and head coach Mike Tomlin made the call in the second quarter to insert Rudolph, the 24-year-old third-round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State.
After endearing himself with fans, Hodges has struggled at the worst possible time for the Steelers, who are vying alongside the Tennessee Titans for the second Wild Card berth.
On the season, Hodges has thrown 80 completions for 884 yards and five touchdowns prior to today’s tilt with Gang Green. Sunday was his fifth start of 2019, his rookie season, after veteran quarterback and Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger went down after Week 1.
Rudolph initially took Roethlisberger’s place under center, but his shaky play merited the undrafted quarterback Duck to enter the fold; remarkably, regardless of the rotating starter gunslinger, the Steelers—mostly because of their defense and running game—have been able to stay viable in the playoff hunt.