Mason Rudolph made his 10th career start for the Steelers on Sunday. After an opening touchdown drive, the rest of the game came with ups and downs from Rudolph.
A veteran at this point, there were some positives to take away from the game, despite the tie. Coach Mike Tomlin was honest on Rudolph’s performance against the Lions.
“He did a good job articulating the offense and communicating with guys. The pace in which we desire to work, he was able to uphold,” Tomlin said via the team’s YouTube page in his weekly press conference. We got some penalties and got a free five yards and were able to attack them downfield with his use of pace. His reads and distribution of the football was largely what we wanted.”
Rudolph finished the game with 242 passing yards on 50 attempts. He also made a few huge plays scrambling, including a 26-yard run early in the third quarter. As for the distribution, Rudolph was able to find seven different receivers. Ray-Ray McCloud was the one who specifically benefitted, racking up a career-high nine catches for 63 yards.
With Rudolph’s positives, there also came some shortcomings as expected. Tomlin specified some of the negatives from Rudolph’s performance.
“If I could be critical of him in any way, I thought he could have been better from a pinpoint accuracy stand in some instances to set up run after [catch] and putting the ball in an ideal circumstance.”
A few plays on the day stand out in reference to Tomlin’s comment. An under-thrown, missed touchdown to Ray-Ray McCloud cost the Steelers six points, although a few, including former Steeler Merril Hoge, thought it was more so McCloud’s fault for running the wrong route.
Oh, man, Merril Hoge is going to get some hate mail for blaming the missed TD throw by Mason Rudolph to Ray-Ray McCloud on the wide receiver. I wonder if Merril ever played football before #Steelers pic.twitter.com/4mv3fCYmMg
— Steelers Depot 🦃 (@Steelersdepot) November 16, 2021
Regardless, that miss was still a big one. The interception was nowhere near the intended receiver. There were a few other notable plays, including the ball sailing over Diontae Johnson’s head on the left sideline.
Rudolph’s shortcomings were mostly expected due to the fact that he’s never been the most accurate quarterback. He did provide some surprising positives, as aforementioned, about his scrambling ability. Overall, Sunday was full of mixed results for Rudolph, and they will need a more consistent game if he starts against the Chargers in Week 11.