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New Stat Reveals Big Change from Mason Rudolph to Kenny Pickett



Steelers QB Mason Rudolph
Steelers QB Mason Rudolph warms up at practice on Jan. 2, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers’ offense is humming along with Mason Rudolph at the helm. In his two-game sample, Rudolph led the team to 34 and 30 points, respectively, and played well to distribute the ball to his playmakers. But how Rudolph is doing it versus how Kenny Pickett is doing it reveals why the offense is scoring so many points.

The team is explosive. Pittsburgh has a legitimate deep ball game now with Rudolph at the helm, while that could not be said with Pickett starting those games throughout the year. According to Next Gen Stats, the difference is stark, even in just a short sample size.

“Mason Rudolph completed all 9 passes targeting out breaking routes for 149 yards in Week 17. Rudolph completed +17.2% of his passes over expected (3rd highest in Week 17) and now holds the 2 highest CPOE marks by a Steelers QB in a game this season (Week 16: +9.7% CPOE),” the release said. “Rudolph has added a deep passing game element to the Steelers’ offense that was not present while Kenny Pickett was under center. Rudolph averaged 8.1 air yards/completion and 8 air yards/attempt in Week 17 against the Seahawks, using his athletic playmakers at wide receiver to make plays downfield (Pickett’s season averages are 4.9 air yards/completion & 7.1 air yards/attempt).”

That’s not a small difference. That’s a huge difference. Rudolph’s air yards per completion is an entire three yards higher than Pickett. George Pickens has put together two of his most productive games at the NFL level, and Rudolph’s introduction shows just why Pickens has taken over the NFL scene so quickly.

Rudolph has done a nice job of making the right read. His eyes got to the right place and even though he was under duress, Rudolph never made an egregious decision. Even if some of those deep balls he has thrown are not completely accurate, they are impressive throws and give his skill guys chances to make splash plays. When you have a group to trust, they can do just that.