The Steelers have named Mason Rudolph as their starting quarterback against the Baltimore Ravens, but on their Week 18 depth chart, they still list Kenny Pickett as the starting quarterback. It sometimes takes time for those changes in the depth chart to manifest, but it does say something about Pickett’s standing within the building that he is still listed there.
Rudolph has become the third Steelers quarterback to start a game this season, following Pickett and Mitch Trubisky. All three quarterbacks are in their second season together in that position room.
Pickett suffered a high ankle sprain that forced him to get surgery. He is expected to be the team’s backup against the Ravens, finally fully healthy from the ankle injury after five weeks off. Since that point, Trubisky played in three games, losing all three, while Rudolph has come in and jolted the Steelers offense to life, averaging 32 points per game in his two starts.
“I think Kenny’s availability is less in question this week and I anticipate he will be able to practice,” head coach Mike Tomlin said on Monday. “That being said, we’re going to leave the ball in Mason Rudolph’s hands. He’s done a good job and we’ve done a good job in the most recent two weeks. We’ve taken care of the ball, he’s taken care of the ball, and we’ve scored points at a rate at which we hadn’t done at a point this year. With the urgency of the moment, we’re going to leave the ball in his hands. But I say all of those things with the understanding that Kenny is very capable, specifically when it pertains to this matchup. Kenny has led us to victory.”
On the season, Mason Rudolph is 37 of 54 for 567 yards. He’s completed 68.5% of his passes, has not thrown an interception compared to two touchdowns, and has a passer rating of 115.3. It’s only two games, but the last time the Steelers had a quarterback finish the season with a passer rating over 100 was Ben Roethlisberger in 2014. The last time any quarterback finished a year with a passer rating as high as Rudolph’s is right now was in 2006, when Charlie Batch finished with a 121.0 in parts of eight games.