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Randy Fichtner is expecting a big bounce back from Mason Rudolph vs. the Bengals

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The Steelers’ quarterback is coming off his worst game as a starter, and the Randy Fichtner is expecting some big things from Mason Rudolph.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The final 8 seconds of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns disguised one aspect of the 21-7 loss most aren’t talking about.

Mason Rudolph’s horrible outing.

While most are talking about Rudolph’s interactions with Myles Garrett to end the game, the 4 interception output Rudolph displayed was below the line in many regards. Plain and simple, it just wasn’t good enough.

What can fans expect in Week 12 as the Steelers prepare to play the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium? According to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, he is expecting a bounce back game.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt. It happened at San Francisco. He got his first win. I believe it was against Cincinnati, and he needs to bounce back, and he will.” Fichtner said. “He’s attacked today. He’s attacked the week in a tough week.”

There are some who like to make excuses for Rudolph’s poor performances, but Fichtner realizes the interceptions in Week 11 had nothing to do with anyone other No. 2.

“We just put some balls in some bad places and made a couple poor throws really, and that just can’t happen, and he knows that, that’s disappointing for him because he’s really done a pretty good job of throwing it to our color jersey and not someone else.”

There have been bumps in the road for sure, and although the game vs. the Browns on Thursday Night Football was the biggest bump on the road, it doesn’t mean Rudolph won’t learn from it and improve his overall game.

“Like I said, there’s going to be growing pains every week, and there has been.” Fichtner said during his weekly media session. “Maybe different defenses. Maybe just different situations, different play calls. You know, those types of things. We’ve just got to grow from them, and I believe he is.”

Plenty of blame can fall on the shoulders of Mason Rudolph, but the fact there has been a revolving door at the skill positions can’t help a young quarterback trying to get his feet wet. The Steelers are expected to be without James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster this Sunday, and that means less experienced players lining up alongside an inexperienced quarterback.

Not an ideal situation, but one Fichtner thinks the team can handle.

“The truth is, these guys have done a nice job of really next man up doing it, and putting us in a position. You know, a couple throws he’d like to have back. I know it had nothing to do with who was running the route and those type of things. It has everything to do with where you put the ball and the decision you made, and there’s going to be times in a competitive guy who you have to know when to say when. It’s enough, throw it away. He did it on the very first third down call. We had a little mistake in protection. He avoided it instead of taking a sack and threw the ball away. Those situations occur. We can live with that because it gave our team a chance to win. We turn it over; we give our team no chance to win.”

Will Rudolph bounce back in Week 12? Nothing is certain at this point, but if the Steelers want to have any prayer of making the postseason they need Rudolph to not just protect the football, but make plays when they appear. A win Sunday propels the team to 6-5 and definitely in the hunt for a playoff spot in the AFC Playoff Picture.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the Steelers prepare for another divisional game on Sunday in Week 12.