When the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at Heinz Field quarterback Mason Rudolph will have an opportunity to do what only two other NFL quarterbacks have ever been able to accomplish.
According to a Wednesday NFL release, with at least two touchdown passes on Sunday against the Ravens, Rudolph would become just the third player in league history to pass for at least two touchdowns in each of his first four career games. The previous two quarterbacks who accomplished said feat were Mark Rypien with the Washington Redskins in 1988 and Jay Cutler with the Denver Broncos in 2006.
Rypien, in case you’re curious, threw 12 total touchdown passes in the first four games that he played in 1988. It’s also worth pointing out that he was originally drafted by the Redskins in 1986 and he spent his first two seasons in the NFL on the team’s Reserve/Injured list. As for Cutler, who was drafted by the Broncos in 2006, he threw eight total touchdown passes in the first four games that he played in during his rookie season.
Rudolph has thrown six touchdown passes in the first three games that he’s played in this season. His first two came in relief of injured starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 so he’s only played 10 total quarters of football thus far. His first two touchdown passes of his career went to tight end Vance McDonald against the Seattle Seahawks and since then he has thrown two more to rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson and one each to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner.
Rudolph will face a Ravens defense on Sunday at Heinz Field that’s only given up five total passing touchdowns on the season. Additionally, only once in their first four games this season has the Ravens defense given up two or more passing touchdowns in a contest and that happened back in Week 3 when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes three three touchdowns against the unit.
In the first four games that he played in as a rookie, Roethlisberger threw five total touchdown passes and two of those came in his NFL debut against the Ravens after taking over for an injured Tommy Maddox. He threw one touchdown pass in each of his next three games and ended his rookie season with 17 total touchdown passes. The Steelers didn’t lose a regular season game that Roethlisberger started during his rookie season. Roethlisberger also threw two touchdown passes in six different regular season games as a rookie.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but should Rudolph throw at least two touchdown passes against the Ravens, he’ll then have a chance to become the first NFL quarterback to ever throw two or more touchdown passes in his first five games played in when the Steelers play the Los Angeles Chargers on the road in Week 6.
While this passing stat is cherry-picked, personally I would have guessed that more than two quarterbacks would’ve already accomplished this feat.