Opinion: Rudolph proves he can fill big shoes

Dylan Shields, Opinions Editor

Despite the Steelers 28-26 loss to the Seahawks, there was an up-side.

In the late second quarter, after an incomplete pass, Ben Roethlisberger kept flexing his right arm in pain.  As he threw pass after pass, his elbow kept hurting more, and the fans could tell as he was holding his elbow.  Eventually, Mike Tomlin pulled Ben out of the game, and in came the Steelers’ backup, Mason Rudolph.

After Ben’s injury, Rudolph threw for two TDs to Vance McDonald, including a very good sidearm pass after extending the play.  Rudolph showed lots of promise, and now that Ben is out for the season, this is a very key year for Rudolph.

Rudolph has had some history at Heinz Field in his early college days at Oklahoma State.  Rudolph is 2-0 against Pitt, including a 59-21 win in which they put up 49 in the first half, where he threw for five TDs.

Rudolph played at Oklahoma State from 2014-2017.  He set the record for the most TDs, 37, in a season by a quarterback at Oklahoma State.  He broke Barry Sanders’ record for most touchdowns in Oklahoma State history, with 92.  Also, in his final season, he lead them to a Camping World Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

After his senior year, he was drafted in the third round by the Steelers in the 2018 NFL Draft.  In his first year, he had to adapt, with the help of Ben Roethlisberger, to the NFL level.  He was the 3rd string QB for 2018.  He got chances in the preseason.  He didn’t look too impressive, throwing three TDs in four games.

The next season, Rudolph was promoted to the 2nd string QB, after the other QB Josh Dobbs got traded to the Jaguars.

In Sunday’s game, Rudolph proved he is the guy after Roethlisberger, and that we shouldn’t tank for a QB in next year’s draft.   He showed that he can be the next Big Ben, but he needs to be having consistent good efforts to prove this.

Aside from the QB, another thing the Steelers still need to worry about is the defense because if our defense can improve, we have potential.  And with the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, this could be done.  Everyone has opinions on this 2019 season for the Steelers, but really all the fans can do is watch.