PITTSBURGH – Quarterback Mason Rudolph already saved the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Christmas with a win towards the Cincinnati Bengals, and now he will get the prospect to present his workforce a shiny begin to the brand new yr.
Though coach Mike Tomlin didn’t title Rudolph as a starter towards the Seattle Seahawks on New 12 months’s Eve, he stated Rudolph will begin the week with the ball as Kenny Pickett continues his rehabilitation following his TightRope ankle surgical procedure on December 4.
“We’re in the identical place with Kenny as we had been final week,” Tomlin stated Tuesday. “We’ll give him just a few reps and see the place that leads us. Clearly we’ve much more consolation due to what we noticed within the stadium for Mason Rudolph and that helps us, however we’re nonetheless actually .” in the identical place. He is acquired the ball to begin the week, and we’ll see the place Kenny is from a mobility perspective after which go from there and play each day based mostly on the issues we see from that perspective. “
Rudolph took all of the first-team reps in apply in preparation for the Bengals, whereas Pickett participated in particular person drills all week earlier than being dominated out after the ultimate apply.
Rudolph then began on Saturday and led the Steelers offense on six scoring drives, tallying 34 factors – probably the most factors scored by the workforce since 2021. Rudolph accomplished 17 of 27 makes an attempt for 290 yards with two passing touchdowns. No different Steelers quarterback has thrown for greater than 278 yards this season.
With Rudolph at quarterback, the Steelers additionally had three performs of a minimum of 40 yards – all on George Pickens receptions – marking their most 40-yard performs since Week 17 of the 2020 season.
“They got here up in a giant second,” Tomlin stated of his gamers. “They smiled within the face of adversity and performed properly on many fronts and did what was essential to safe the victory. I feel that positively highlighted Mason Rudolph’s play. … We talked about him having a number of perception in himself and being aggressive in mentality and sport and people issues had been confirmed within the sport.
“I believed he did a extremely good job of being snug being himself, speaking with folks whatever the moments which I believed confirmed the arrogance he confirmed in himself, and I additionally thought he remained aggressive the complete time.”
Tomlin additionally cited Rudolph’s 66-yard landing to Pickens on third-and-1 within the third quarter for example of the quarterback’s aggressiveness being an “asset.”
Tomlin dodged questions on what Pickett’s potential availability might imply for the quarterback depth chart, reiterating that he is “not all for hypotheticals.”
“We’ll see what the efficiency appears like tomorrow,” Tomlin stated of Pickett. “Mason Rudolph has the ball as we stand right here immediately.”
On protection, the Steelers will likely be with out linebacker Elandon Roberts, who suffered a pectoral harm within the first half of the Bengals sport. With Roberts out, the Steelers will flip to Myles Jack and Blake Martinez, two inside linebackers who’ve retired at completely different instances over the previous yr. Nevertheless, each returned to the sector by initially signing with the Steelers apply squad after accidents plagued the place. Like Jack, security Eric Rowe was additionally elevated from the apply squad to the energetic roster on Saturday. Whereas Jack had a sack, Rowe caught an interception.
“We did not have them on the apply squad as creating gamers,” Tomlin stated. “We had them on the apply squad as succesful gamers, guys we might name on and provides us varsity-like work and energy, and their play mirrored that.”
Rowe was a part of a patchwork security group on Saturday, becoming a member of cornerback-turn-safety Patrick Peterson, who additionally had an interception, on the sector. The duo got here into motion with the suspension of Damontae Kazee and accidents to Minkah Fitzpatrick and Trenton Thompson. Whereas Fitzpatrick was out towards the Bengals following a knee harm suffered per week earlier, Tomlin stated his All-Professional security will return to apply this week as a restricted participant, together with Thompson, who left the Bengals sport with a stinger missed.