I can’t say for certain, but Mason Rudolph may have been in a relatively small minority in lamenting his final pass of the game, a two-point conversion attempt to wide receiver Chase Claypool that went over his head through contact with the defender.
A conversion there would have tied the Pittsburgh Steelers are 24-24 with the Cleveland Browns in a game that held no playoff implications for the visiting team, who were trailing, with under 90 seconds to play, with the very real threat of sending the game into overtime.
While head coach Mike Tomlin will tell you that they were trying to win the game—after all, he could have just gone for an extra point attempt, though he likely would have been criticized for it—overtime in a game in which you’re resting starters for the postseason is not the ideal situation.
But this could be—should be—the last time that Rudolph plays meaningful snaps for a while, so he lamented the missed connection that would have kept the possibility of a win alive, all the while frustrated that no penalty was called.
“It came down to one play and a combination of didn’t get it done there and the two-point play, as well”, he said in his post-game remarks in assessing his play. “I thought the DB got sling-shotted a little bit and a two-point play is hard for a referee to make a call there. We lost and that is all that matters”.
Rudolph had just completed his second fourth-quarter touchdown drive, finding JuJu Smith-Schuster for the score to put them within two, having also previously connected with Claypool earlier in the quarter for a touchdown. They had been trailing by 15 after an interception that he threw led to an offensive touchdown for the home team.
Chase made a great play, and he made great plays all day and Diontae (Johnson) there at the end and JuJu extending drives on third down”, the third-year quarterback said in praising his targets. “I am proud of the way those guys played today for me and for our offense. I have to make a better play on the two-point throw to send us into OT”.
Overall, Rudolph completed only 22 of his 39 pass attempts, but he threw for a career-high 315 yards and had two touchdowns versus his one interception. He was only sacked once, though it came in the red zone and helped force them to settle for a field goal in the early portions of the game.