Rudolph Bounces Back After Slow Start

LISTEN-‘I would have booed that performance too’

Jeff Hathhorn
October 29, 2019 - 1:26 am

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) –Making his return start after Devlin Hodges led the Steelers to a win, Mason Rudolph threw a pick on his first attempt.  Then Rudolph had another first half interception overturned and heard the wrath of Steelers fans wondering how they were down 14-0 to a winless team.

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“Hey, I would have booed that performance, too,” Rudolph said.  “We came out slow.  I mean, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers-there’s a standard here.  We weren’t meeting it at the time.”

Then on a short throw to a wide-open  Diontae Johnson with 26 seconds left in the first half, the rookie receiver turned and ran with a head of steam.  Johnson got a key block from James Washington and it seemed like it all turned around and eventually a 27-14 win over Miami at Heinz Field..

“That was a confidence booster, that really got us together and rallied us together,” said tackle Matt Feiler.

Mike Tomlin noted it wasn’t just Rudolph that started slow, rather the whole team.

“There is always that angst when you are coming off of a bye week of warming up to the action,” Tomlin said.  “I thought we could have started faster, not only with him, but all of us.”

That momentum continued into the second half, as after a second interception of the day by Steelers safety Mincah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers drove 97 yards, actually 107 if you include the 10-yard penalty, capped off by a touchdown pass by Rudolph to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who finished with five catches for 103 yards.

“I think he’s a great player,” Rudolph said.  “You have to feed him to matter what.  He’s proven to be a force down the field in those combat catch situations.”

Tomlin said both lines of scrimmage really took over at that point, James Conner rushed for 145 yards including a nine-yard touchdown early in the fourth for a commanding lead.

“Unbelievable job,” Rudolph said.  “He came out hot early and it really kind of sparked us as an offense.  He’s playing up there at the top of the competition of running backs in the league.”

Rudolph finished 20 of 36 for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns and only that one interception on his first throw.

“To come back the way we did, I was really proud of the group and the way we responded as an offense,” Rudolph said.

Steelers host the Colts on Sunday as Mike Tomlin noted the position of his team.

“We get an opportunity to be 4-4 at the turn, and were we have been, that is significant.”

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