While it seems as though the majority of the Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase has lost all confidence—at least for the time being—in rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges, that doesn’t at all appear to be the sentiment in the locker room, where he has been met in the media by universal support from his teammates.
Hodges, an undrafted free agent out of Samford, has started the past four games after he replaced Mason Rudolph in the second half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rudolph was benched due to poor performance, and Hodges led a comeback win in that game, then followed up with two more wins.
But the offense has put up just 20 points in total in the following two games, both losses, and half of those points came from Rudolph on Sunday before he was injured in fewer than two full quarters of action, after Hodges had been benched.
“He’s shown that he could [get it done] early on”, tight end Nick Vannett told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Unfortunately, he didn’t have his best game. He’s young, and he’s still learning things and he’ll continue to learn things”.
Hodges became the first undrafted free agent non-replacement quarterback to win his first three starts as a rookie in the modern era, but he’s gone on to drop his next two games. He’ll have the opportunity to get his fourth win on Sunday with Rudolph still sidelined.
“I would bet he’s learning the most from these experiences where he’s feeling at his low right now”, Vannett added. “He’ll bounce back more than ever. It will make his preparation even harder, and it will be motivating to him”.
Hodges had done a solid job of protecting the football and not making too many costly mistakes to allow the Steelers’ defense to do its job, at least up until the past two games. He has thrown six interceptions in roughly six quarters since then.
The Steelers were anticipating a bounceback performance from him on Sunday, but like Rudolph against the Bengals, they didn’t get it, and when that happened, they pulled him from the game. Only this time, injuries have forced him back into action.
He has a second chance to make a second impression now in the finale. What will that look like? Their playoff hopes largely rest upon it.