After Mitchell Trubisky led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a second straight loss, Mike Tomlin benched him in favor of third-stringer Mason Rudolph. Trubisky became the Steelers' temporary starter with second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett out due to a high ankle sprain that required surgery. The decision turned out great as Rudolph led Pittsburgh to their best offensive performance since Ben Roethlisberger retired in a 34-11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

In his first start since 2018, the former third-round pick went 17-27 for 290 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers put up 34 points and almost 400 yards of offense, something they had not done all season. Tomlin noted after the game that the offense's success came in large part because of Rudolph's aggressive nature as a passer. Rudolph gave his receivers opportunities in one-on-one situations rather than opting for a check-down or easier throw. This allowed the Steelers playmakers the chance to make big plays, something the offense has largely lacked this year.

This paid off big time specifically for second-year receiver George Pickens, who had a career game for the Steelers as he recorded four receptions for 195 yards and two touchdowns. His touchdowns included an 86-yard catch and run to start the game as well as a 66-yard reception down the sideline.

Of course, Rudolph isn't the only person responsible for the win and improved offense. His first touchdown pass came in large part because Pickens was able to escape three Bengals defenders and sprint down the field for a touchdown. On top of this, the Steelers defense came up with three interceptions from Jake Browning, which gave the offense advantageous field position on multiple occasions.

Still, Rudolph was instrumental in creating the Steelers' momentum. His first 86-yard touchdown to Pickens gave Pittsburgh an entire boost as a team. The Steelers rolled the rest of the first half, putting up a 24-0 lead that was too much for the Bengals to overcome.

This performance came at a crucial time too. The Steelers were on a three-game losing streak and had a good chance of falling further from playoff contention without a win. They're still on the outside looking in when it comes to securing a playoff spot, but they have a much better shot thanks to their win. More importantly, their offense looks like it could actually contend if the Steelers do make the playoffs.

Even if Pickett is ready to play, Rudolph should remain the starter for the rest of the season. For one, there's no reason to rush Pickett back. Coming off an ankle sprain, Pickett may not quite have his normal mobility upon his return, especially with so little time left in the regular season. There are only two games left before the playoffs, and Rudolph already has a good shot at playing this week since Pickett will more than likely not be ready.

Outside of Pickett's injury, there's no reason to disrupt what the Steelers have going. It's only been one game, but Pittsburgh has the most momentum on offense that they've had all season. By finally getting the offense going, the Steelers defense was also fired up the rest of the game. For one of the few moments all season, the Steelers looked good on both sides of the ball at the same time. With only a slim shot at making the playoffs, Rudolph gives them the best chance at winning their next two games and making it in. The solution is to let Pickett heal and start Rudolph the rest of the year.