First Impressions of Mason Rudolph

By Logan Leslie

After an absolutely embarrassing effort in Week 1, we expected to see a hungry Ben Roethlisberger ready to light up a Seattle Seahawks defense which allowed for Andy Dalton to have a career day in Week 1. Instead, we saw more of the same on offense in the first quarter, stalled drives, dropped passes and poor execution on third down.

After watching Roethlisberger go down, one would think the Steelers offense would be worse off with the inexperienced Mason Rudolph at the helm. However, following the benching of Donte Moncrief, the Pittsburgh Steelers ran a flea flicker and Mason Rudolph completed a beautiful 45-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Following this completion, Rudolph proceeded to throw nine straight completions and showed an impressive ability to extend the play and scramble when needed.

Rudolph also found the end zone twice with passes to Vance McDonald. Both plays were impressive for a quarterback playing in his first NFL regular season game. On the first touchdown, Rudolph under pressure, faked a spike and fired a side arm pass to McDonald. Then Rudolph executed a play-action pass to McDonald again.

Rudolph finished the day 12 of 19 for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, which had certainly not been his fault. This was good for a passer rating of 92.4. If Moncrief had caught the intercepted pass on Rudolph’s first pass attempt, this passer rating would have been 122.0.

Going into Week 3 should the team need to go without Big Ben, Steelers fans should be confident in Rudolph’s ability to run the offense and score points. He showed the ability to throw the ball downfield with accuracy and conviction, he showed grit and determination, and he looked comfortable in the pocket with the ability to extend plays and scramble for first downs.

The most impressive aspect of Rudolph’s game today was his ability to make smart decisions with the football. This showed on a play in the third quarter on a 2nd and 6. Rudolph was being brought down by a defender in the pocket, and instead of attempting to make a play or just take the sack, he was able to get the ball out safely for an incompletion and saved the team from a 3rd and long situation.

While Mason Rudolph is far from proven or perfect, his strong showing today should be an encouraging site for all Steelers fans and shines some light on what the future of the team could look like long-term.


What are your thoughts on Rudolph’s performance today and how he’ll play moving forward? Comment below!



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