The Pittsburgh Steelers got some bad news today in the wake of the Ben Roethlisberger injury in the team’s loss to the Seahawks yesterday, worsening their record to 0-2.
Roethlisberger, who appeared to have aggravated his elbow on multiple different occasions in the first half, went to the locker room just before halftime and did not re-enter the game, leaving the signal-calling duties to sophomore Mason Rudolph.
Not only is an injury to Big Ben certainly bad news, but it comes less than a week after the Steelers traded backup quarterback Josh Dobbs to the Jaguars after they lost Nick Foles to a fractured clavicle. Now, with Rudolph as the only quarterback on the roster, the team will add a backup off their own practice squad, promoting Devlin Hodges to the 53-man unit, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Mason Rudolph now becomes the Steelers’ starting QB.
Having traded Josh Dobbs to Jacksonville last week, the Steelers now are likely to sign QB Devlin Hodges off their practice squad to back up Rudolph.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2019
Prior to yesterday’s injury, Roethlisberger hadn’t missed a game due to injury since Week 7 of the 2016 season.
Roethlisberger, now 37, has 144 wins and 71 losses and a tie since being drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2004 draft. The six-time Pro Bowler has led the league in completions once and passing yards twice. He has 4,651 completions for 56,545 yards and 363 touchdowns. He has thrown 191 interceptions.
Rudolph, 24, found his way to Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2018 draft. The Oklahoma State product completed 12 passes on 19 attempts in his NFL debut yesterday, throwing for 112 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. While he didn’t play awful in his solid showing on Sunday, committing to a young, inexperienced quarterback for to post at least nine or 10 wins (to secure a playoff bid) in the next 14 games is a tough task.
Hodges, 23, is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound rookie who doesn’t even have his own Pro Football Reference page. In fact, the only big page he has is one from NFL.com, which mentions what has been said in this paragraph, as well as the fact that he was born in 1996 and went to Samford for college after attending Mortimer Jordan for high school. Hodges did play some snaps in the preseason, completing 20 of 38 passes for 190 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
So, rewind to the early months of the 2018 calendar year. The Steelers, in the AFC Championship game, are being led by Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell.
Now, let’s check out 2019. Brown has found his way to the one team the Steelers didn’t want him to go to: the New England Patriots. Bell found his way to a different AFC East team, the New York Jets. And Roethlisberger is done for the year.
That’s not to say that a trio of JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, and Mason Rudolph can’t do damage, but the Steelers have certainly been on the receiving end of some bad news lately and that only continues as they lose their franchise quarterback for at least 14 weeks.