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Pro Football Focus gives high praise for Devlin Hodges after the Steelers Week 14 win

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The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in Week 14, and a large reason was the play of Devlin Hodges.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in Week 14 beating the Arizona Cardinals 23-16 in the desert. There were many notable performances from the black-and-gold, and while T.J. Watt, Joe Haden and Diontae Johnson are getting plenty of publicity, and rightfully so, after their performances, not much has been said about Devlin Hodges.

Duck Hodges was efficient as efficient gets vs. the Cardinals, completing 16 of his 19 pass attempts, but he didn’t just protect the football. He was decisive with the ball and delivered several key passes down the field to keep drives going and put points on the board.

How good was Hodges? The fine folks at PFF talked about Hodges in their recap of the game. What he did well, what he still needs to work on and other players who stood out in the Steelers’ 8th win of the season.

Take a look at their thoughts:

Devlin Hodges continues to make strides on the job with his ability to evade pressure, with his quickness being a considerable advantage. The Pittsburgh coaching staff did an admirable job tailoring the offense to his abilities with quick strikes to the flat, deep shots and a major focus moving the ball on the ground. The simple fact that the Steelers are right in the middle of the playoff race this deep into the season after losing Ben Roethlisberger speaks volumes to their preparation. As for Hodges, he displayed all of his plus traits during a scramble drill late in the fourth quarter when he found Diontae Johnson on a comeback for a 17-yard gain on 3rd & 13 that paved the way for a 25-yard field goal.

Rookie Diontae Johnson and sophomore James Washington have stepped up big this season with Ben Roethlisberger out for the season and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the mend from a knee injury. While the box score doesn’t reflect the extent of his impact, Washington drew key pass interference penalties from Byron Murphy—of 15 and 24 yards, respectively—in the second half. Johnson made moves all over the field, catching a two-yard touchdown and returning a punt 85-yards for another touchdown.

T.J. Watt has had a breakout season, and he was outstanding again today. He scored pressures seemingly at will when rushing the passer, and he also notched an interception in the end zone.

Given Arizona’s emphasis on screens and short passes, tackling was critical for the Steelers today. Generally, the defense did an excellent job of getting off blocks in space to bring ball carriers down, and that prevented the Cardinals from being able to turn their short, efficient passes into big chunk plays.

The Cardinals’ defense is considered one of the worst in the NFL, and the Steelers offense didn’t really have their way with them on Sunday. Compare that to the defense Hodges and company will face in Week 15 is quite the contrast.

The Buffalo Bills, who invade Heinz Field for a Sunday Night Football showdown, will force Hodges into winning a game for the Steelers. Game managing works when you can run the football, something the Steelers have done well the past three weeks, but when you become one-dimensional can Hodges deliver the win?

Only time will tell, but it looks like PFF agrees with me when I felt the win Sunday was a huge step in the right direction for Hodges in his development.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the Bills this Sunday night in Week 15.