In his fourth year with the Pittsburgh Steelers, quarterback Mason Rudolph didn’t make any excuses when it came to the weather conditions the Steelers found themselves in during Sunday’s contest that ended in a 16-16 tie against the winless Detroit Lions. He stated multiple times that weather “was a factor, but I think everyone was dealing with that,” elaborating, “I think we were all dealing with the weather, and it obviously affects us all differently.” While it’s nice to hear the young quarterback not make any obvious excuses for his play that led to Sunday’s tie, it was clear the sloppy conditions affected his play in more situations than one.
“The one slant to Diontae [Johnson] was definitely too high and hot. Those are the throws I got to make despite the weather conditions.”
Rudolph missed what would have been a touchdown to Ray-Ray McCloud at the goal line that would have put the Steelers up by four points at the time. McCloud was open at the top of the end zone, right on the goal line — a route we have seen many Steelers wide receivers make throughout the years and a throw we have to believe Ben Roethlisberger would have made if he were in that situation. Needless to say, Rudolph missed the target and threw it short, hitting the ground before making it to McCloud’s hands. A throw that he obviously now would like back.
“I got to make that throw. He did a good job of getting open for us down there in the end zone. That’s one I got to make. I don’t want to make an excuse. I got to make that throw.”
Although mistakes were made on Rudolph’s part, he did put the Steelers offense in positions to put points on the board. He did have a sloppy thrown interception in the first half, and missed receivers in some moments that could have had a huge effect on the game’s outcome, but his offensive teammates didn’t exactly help him out by doing their part either.
Rudolph led the Steelers offense down the field twice in overtime, putting the ball inside of the other team’s 40-yard line in hopes of at least a field goal attempt. He made a beautiful throw to Johnson towards the sideline that was caught for a good chunk of yardage that was fumbled in an attempt to gain extra yardage. Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth fell victim to that same outcome with just seconds left on the board in overtime until the Steelers could have claimed victory.
“He was trying to get out of bounds, and I thought that was our best opportunity to get a quick 5 yards and get out of bounds. He [Freiermuth] has never had a ball security issue and it happens to all of us in those moments at times.”
Listen, I’m not one for playing the whole what if game when it comes to the outcome of games. The reality was, if both of those passes were caught and downed, the Steelers would have been in a great position to kick a game winning field goal — TWICE. Our defense did a good job of giving our offense good field position more times than not, but the Steelers did have plenty of opportunities to win this football game. For whatever reason, the Steelers fell short of victory.
We can ask ourselves “Would the Steelers have won this game had Roethlisberger been out there?” Responses to that may vary, but the fact is, this can’t be a game that is blamed strictly on Rudolph. Even so, Rudolph didn’t shy away from taking responsibility for the outcome.
“We all have things to correct, trust me. I have plenty of balls that I would like back. I think so does everyone on our offense.”
Watch the full postgame interview here:
Mason Rudolph speaks to the media following our game against Detroit. pic.twitter.com/7Y7LmbwKtK
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 14, 2021
What did you think of Rudolph’s overall performance in only his 10th career NFL start on Sunday? Comment below!