Despite quarterback Mitch Trubisky struggling immensely at times in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ embarrassing 21-18 loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday night, Mike Tomlin never considered putting Mason Rudolph in.
“I didn’t,” Tomlin simply told reporters after the game when asked if he considered making a change.
Trubisky completed 22 of 35 passes (62.9%) for 190 yards (5.4 yards per attempt), one touchdown, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 74.7. Trubisky’s interception in the second quarter was crucial, as the Patriots’ turned the turnover into a touchdown. The Steelers didn’t capitalize off their turnover in the second half and that was the difference, according to Tomlin.
“They got seven points off their turnover off the short field. We got zero off ours. That’s the difference in the game,” Tomlin said.
Trubisky’s interception was brutal, too, as he threw into triple coverage looking for Pat Freiermuth. That has been a common theme with him. Trubisky put the loss on his shoulders and was well aware of the crowd chanting for Rudolph to come in. The fans at Acrisure let Trubisky have it after his interception.
“It’s understandable. I played like crap,” Trubisky said after the game.
Rudolph hasn’t played in a game since the 2021 season, when he started in place of Ben Roethlisberger, who was out with COVID-19 against the Detroit Lions. Rudolph finished that game 30 of 50 for 242 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also appeared in one garbage time appearance that season.
The Steelers’ third-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2018, Rudolph has played in 17 games and made 10 starts, with a career completion percentage of 61.5% and an 80.9 passer rating.
The Steelers had only two quarterbacks active for the game. Pickett was scratched and is expected to miss multiple weeks after undergoing surgery on his right ankle. Trace McSorley was signed to the practice squad this week, but was not elevated for the game.
If Trubisky continues to struggle, Tomlin might have to put in Rudolph to help give the Steelers a spark. Trubisky certainly didn’t on Thursday night.