About a month ago, Mike Tomlin told a room full of reporters that his reason for going with Devlin Hodges was that he has not killed the team. Now, about a month later, the honeymoon phase on duck season has almost surely come to an end as Hodges has sunk the Pittsburgh Steelers over the last two weeks.
Coming into Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, much was questioned about the length of the leash on the undrafted rookie quarterback and with another subpar performance, Tomlin was forced to reveal exactly how long the leash was.
Three drives. That is all it took for Tomlin to yank out Hodges after the quarterback threw interceptions on two of his first three drives. The first interception came on a 3rd and 10 pass near midfield when Hodges was intercepted by Tarell Basham. The second interception came in the end zone as a pass intended for Jaylen Samuels was thrown into a sea of green and intercepted by Marcus Maye.
That would be all for Duck, or so we thought. Another opportunity for the man nicknamed Duck would present itself after Mason Rudolph was injured in the second half. Even with new life, Hodges was unable to make a lasting impression on the ball game. His three drives after being reinserted ended in two punts and a turnover on downs. Those three drives netted just 27-total yards but a great play by Maye on Hodges’ second to last pass also took what could have been a touchdown out of James Washington’s hands.
It is now the second week in a row that the former Samford quarterback has finished with multiple interceptions and a low passer rating. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, Hodges was intercepted four times and finished with a 43.9 passer rating. Much more of the same this week as the Steelers’ quarterback was picked off two times and finished with a 37.0 passer rating.
Four weeks ago, Tomlin pointed to Duck because he had not killed the Steelers. It is hard to make that same argument now. While Hodges was a nifty story, he has been one of the many reasons why this offense has crumbled over the last two games. Questionable play calling and injuries have also played a part but the quarterback is always the one who is looked at. Right now, Hodges is a sitting duck for this team but luckily for him, he may have one last chance to change the plot line of his closing chapter.
Heading into the final week of the season, there is much uncertainty with the Steelers’ quarterback room. Rudolph may be injured which could lead to another opportunity for the undrafted rookie quarterback. Should the Steelers duck call one more time, Hodges will need to make sure he does not kill the team like in weeks prior.