First, Le’Veon Bell was gone. Then Antonio Brown was sent packing. Now, the Pittsburgh Steelers are down its starting quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the first half of Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The 15-year veteran is done for the season and needs surgery on his right elbow.
Roethlisberger signed a three-year extension with the team in the offseason but now will miss the rest of 2019. Before exiting, he finished the game 8/15 with 75 yards.
The Steelers had already lost its two biggest playmakers over the past five seasons in the offseason. Both Bell and Brown departed the team and questions marked were raised as to how the perennial AFC contender would fare. It was expected that Big Ben be the steady hand for the team to rebuild.
Next man up
After Roethlisberger went down, Mason Rudolph stepped into to lead the offense. The second-year quarterback helped keep Pittsburgh in the game and threw two touchdown passes. He ended up completing 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards while also throwing an interception.
Rudolph hadn’t thrown a pass in a regular-season NFL game prior to Sunday after being the third-string quarterback during his rookie year in 2018. However, Rudolph beat out Joshua Dobbs for the backup roll in the offseason and became the de-facto backup to the future Hall-of-Famer.
'He is a great leader. Someone we all trust. We all believe in him, that he is going to step up and do the job. You saw a glimpse of him this past game.' – @TeamJuJu on @Rudolph2Mason stepping in as the starting quarterback
— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) September 17, 2019
The second-year player knows he has a big role to fill.
Prolific in College
There’s a reason the Steelers used their third round pick in 2018 on Rudolph. Rudolph was the most prolific passer in Oklahoma State history in his three seasons as a starter in Stillwater. He holds the record for career passing yards, single-season passing yards, the single-game record for passing yards, career touchdowns and is tied for the most touchdowns in a single season.
So, yeah, Rudolph can sling the football.
It also helps that he has a former teammate to throw to. Rudolph and fellow Oklahoma State Cowboy James Washington were both selected by the Steelers in the 2018 draft. The duo was magnificent in college. In 2017, the two connected for 1,549 yards on 74 completions with 13 touchdowns.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 15, 2019
First career start
Rudolph will be making his first career NFL start this coming Sunday when Pittsburgh travels to San Francisco. However, the new starter feels ready for the task.