With news breaking of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announcing he will be resting players, including Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers Week 17 clash with the Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers slipped to 10.5 point road underdogs. With the Steelers being led by quarterback Mason Rudolph, and a supporting cast of backup and practice squad players, it could be easy to assume the Steelers will simply roll over and die in Cleveland. When you consider the Browns are an extremely desperate team needing to win to get into the playoffs, it only strengthens that claim.
Not so fast.
This is still the Cleveland Browns we are talking about. Sure, they’ve won 10 games for the first time since 2007, but the Browns have found themselves on the losing side of two of their last three games. Including an embarrassing breakdown to the abysmal New York Jets.
Steelers’ QB Mason Rudolph will start in Week 17 game against Cleveland.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 29, 2020
With the way the NFL schedule lined up it’s pretty safe to assume the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens will leave Sunday the victors over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals. Barring an earth shaking upset, the Browns will find themselves in a win and you're in, or lose and you're out scenario. When you look at the history of the Cleveland Browns since they re-entered the league back in 1999, they can be defined as a lose and you're out team.
But the poetic justice doesn’t just end there. This will be Mason Rudolph’s first start of the 2020 season, and his first start against the Browns since the Myles Garrett ‘incident’. While neither the Steelers or the Browns want to talk about it, you just know Rudolph has every incentive to not only win this game, but stick it to the Browns. Not only did Rudolph get bashed over the head with his own helmet, but Garrett claimed that he made a racist remark which supposedly sparked the entire incident. A claim that was intensely denied by Steelers’ players and coaches, including Maurkice Pouncey, that was standing in-between Rudolph and Garrett, and the most prominent African-American head coach in all of North American pro-sports in Mike Tomlin.
Stefanski, on the #Browns and Myles Garrett facing off against Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph after what transpired last year: “We’re well past that incident."— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 30, 2020
How poetic would it be for the guy that ends the Browns’ season to be the same guy they assaulted and then attempted to call a racist. Choking away the best regular season in modern Browns history would be very on-brand for the Cleveland Browns, but to go out against Mason Rudolph?
This could all be for not if the Browns win a game that by all means they have no excuse not to win. But it’s the Cleveland Browns. This game isn't over until it’s truly over.
I cannot think of a more devastating regular season loss than the Browns potentially losing to Mason Rudolph and the Steelers’ backups in Week 17 to miss the playoffs— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 29, 2020
But what do you think? Can Mason Rudolph lead the Steelers to victory in Cleveland? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!