Quarterback Mason Rudolph made another start against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Unfortunately, the start ended up being 26-23 overtime loss for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rudolph had his difficulties again en route to completing 13 of 20 passes and a touchdown. How would the day have panned out if Rudolph had not been knocked out by safety Earl Thomas? We will never know.
One notable aspect that Rudolph portrayed during the game was looking comfortable in the pocket. He did not look as anxious in the pocket as he did in previous games. While Rudolph still locked in on receivers or a certain side of the field, he did a better job overall with progression. These can be seen in the video below.
With the good comes the bad. When I first watched the game I was pleased with Rudolph. Sure he had his issues but he also did not hurt the team. Watching the All-22 gave me more perspective and my thoughts changed. Rudolph has continued to struggle with touch on deep passes and progressions. The pocket presence was a mixed bag, especially when moving out of the pocket. He flowed out of the pocket well but made poor decisions afterward. Rudolph has to be more aware of the pocket and not take devastating sacks ensuring no touchdown.
Rudolph has been gifted great field position game after game this season only to have the drive stall. While it is great to come away with points, the team is not winning the close games because of settling for field goals. The Steelers had two drives which started on the Baltimore 25 or closer. On those two drives, Pittsburgh moved from the 16 back to the 23, while the other started at the 25 and moved to the 11. Fifteen yards were picked up because of Ravens penalties.
It is unclear if Rudolph will beat the clock on passing the concussion protocol for Sunday’s tilt against the Los Angeles Chargers but with the Steelers heading into a bye week after, expect Devlin “Duck” Hodges get the nod Sunday.