Rudolph saves Christmas…and the season!

December 24th, 2023
by admin

The Steelers led by Mason Rudolph won a must win game against the Cincinnati Bengals..

It was just short of a Christmas miracle, somehow the Steelers beat up the Bengals 34-11, dealing Cincinnati a serious blow to their playoff contention and putting up of their best offensive performance in several years!

With starter Kenny Pickett still sidelined due to injury and a wildly ineffective Mitch Trubisky on the bench, the Steelers looked to former backup and current third stringer Mason Rudolph. Who surprisingly thrived after waiting to get the start. He threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with George Pickens for both scores. Pickens finished with a stellar 195 yards and 2 touchdowns, firmly establishing himself as a rising star after a media storm surrounded him all week.

Najee Harris had a tough grind out game with 78 yards and a touchdown, accounting for a big piece of the 113 yards the Steelers garnered.

It was a dominant performance for the defense up front. The Bengals were held to just 59 yards on the ground and put Jake Browning on his heels most of the game. Browning finished with 335 yards, but he was picked off three times and sacked three times. Alex Highsmith had a sack and an interception; T.J. Watt had a sack and was all over Browning. He was held on nearly every play, that isn’t hyperbole either.  With Elandon Roberts going down again, Charlie Batch #16, 😊 check that Miles Jack stepped in and had a very strong game, considering two months ago he was on the couch!

The patchwork secondary hung in there and made plays. It was a solid professional game for Patrick Peterson who was forced into playing safety. He teamed up with Eric Rowe who also was on the practice squad and both had interceptions.

Chris Boswell, drilled both his field goal attempts including a 50-yarder. It was another Pressley Harvin inconsistent performance, continuing his maddening season.

The Steelers were decimated all week between the media and the injuries and the fact that they came roaring out and basically ended the Bengals season can’t be overlooked. Coach Tomlin deserves a lot of credit for not listening to the naysayers, sticking with George Pickens and getting the middle of the lineup defense ready with guys who were not even in the league two months ago.

The last few weeks have been frustrating, and to quote Tomlin, “They don’t seek comfort.” But name another team who lost their starting Quarterback, ALL of their middle linebackers to injury, two Hall of Fame talents for a long period of time, their other starting safety to a ridiculous suspension and were still in contention going into the last two weeks of the season.

That deserves our praise NOT our derision!


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Mason Rudolph for a very strong performance. Great job by the in-game promotion staff who played “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” after the game! Also Considered: George Pickens who had a very hard week in the media but saved his best performance for Sunday! Najee Harris, who had a string bounce back game as well. How about Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt both with big performances.

Beer of the Game: Went with a local Long Island Beer, WHB Pumpkin Beer. Solid well-rounded beer and had to take it easy because of holiday obligations.

“Steel the Snacks”: We didn’t “Steel the Snacks” again, so no coney dogs and skyline chili this season, we did start cooking for Christmas Eve dinner and the Feast of the Seven Fishes!

My Stat of the week: Must go 290 yards and a 124 QB Rating for Mason Rudolph, the best by a Steelers QB this season! It was a terrific performance for a guy who had zero looks from other teams and patiently waited to get his chance in the starting lineup.

My thoughts on next week: VERY TOUGH game to win in Seattle. While the playoffs remain a long shot, there is so much to play for. The Steelers will need a herculean effort and these next two weeks will determine the long-term plan for the franchise. The mainstream media is obsessed with disrespecting the non-losing season streak for Coach Tomlin, but it is important, and the team knows that.

Jersey of the Week: Even though it was “Immaculate Reception” day, I went with a blank jersey with the Steelers helmet on the front. It was to try and break the bad mojo.

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