Devlin Hodges Returns as Steelers QB Due to Mason Rudolph Injury After Benching

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) warms up before an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Duck Hodges era in Pittsburgh appears to be continuing after all.

The Pittsburgh Steelers benched Hodges after he threw two first-half interceptions in Sunday's game against the New York Jets, with Mason Rudolph coming in as his replacement.

Hodges was later forced back into the eventual 16-10 loss after Rudolph left in the second half because of a shoulder injury.

Hodges was coming off an ugly four-pick game against the Buffalo Bills last week and couldn't get over the turnover bug against the lowly Jets. While he completed seven of his first nine passes for 59 yards, the pair of misses were picks in Jets territory. Hodges finished 11-of-17 for 84 yards and two interceptions. Rudolph was 14-of-20 for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Rudolph was benched Nov. 24 against the Cincinnati Bengals after his own issues with turnovers. The Steelers offense has floundered all season after Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2.

"Coach Tomlin told us, 'Hey, we're not going to blink. We're going to keep going. Just learn it and play your game,'" Hodges told reporters earlier this week. "I'm not going to change who I am. I had a bad game. I know I had a bad game, but, hey, I can get better from it. Bad games do happen. I'm looking forward to coming out there and showing that we've gotten better and that we're going to have more fun and play football and hopefully get a win."

Hodges is an undrafted free agent out of Samford who wasn't even on a Week 1 practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster after Roethlisberger's injury, with the expectation of him holding a clipboard behind Rudolph.

The Steelers selected Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, ostensibly as an heir apparent to Roethlisberger. That plan quickly changed once Rudolph saw extensive work on the field, as he threw for 1,636 yards and 12 touchdowns against nine interceptions.

The Steelers have managed to stay in playoff contention despite having one of the worst offenses in football and came into this weekend controlling their own destiny. With wins over the Jets and Ravens, Pittsburgh would earn a wild-card berth. With a loss to either team, the Steelers would need the Tennessee Titans to lose to the Houston Texans next Sunday.