Hodges Answers the (Duck) Call, Quarterback Controversy in Pittsburgh.
After answering the call on Sunday, it is time to consider Hodges as the full-time starter heading forward with the Steelers.
During the Steelers win on Sunday against the Bengals, the unthinkable happened. Mason Rudolph, the 3rd round pick from 2018, got benched for undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges.
Rudolph struggled the vast majority of the game, throwing for just 85 yards on 8/16 completed passes with an interception in the Cincinnati red zone. Rudolph had struggled in previous weeks, but to struggle against the winless Bengals team, with one of the worst defenses in the league, was inexcusable. Therefore, Tomlin made the decision to pull him.
When Tomlin made the “duck call” for former national duck calling champion Devlin Hodges, he delivered. He came into the game in the 3rd quarter and threw a 79-yard strike to wide receiver James Washington for the Touchdown. He later led two 4th quarter field goals for the Steelers to ultimately give them the 16-10 win and keep their playoff hopes afloat. While Hodges has opened up a quarterback controversy in Pittsburgh, it is a true testament of the importance of staying ready and prepared to do your job when called upon.
Hodges signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in the 2019 draft. With the Samford Bulldogs, Hodges set the record for all-time passing yards in the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision with 14,584 passing yards in 45 games through 4 years as a starter.
Hodges not only made a name for himself on the football field at Samford but also on campus, through his natural talent of duck calling. In 2009, Hodges won the Junior World Duck Calling Contest. In 2018, Hodges won the Alabama State Duck Calling Championship, earning him the nickname “duck” on campus.
Hodges signed as an undrafted free agent on May 13, 2019, with the Steelers. He was then waived on August 31st. Hodges was re-signed to the practice squad on September 10th, which eventually led to him being promoted to the active roster on September 16th following Roethlisberger’s injury.
Hodges got his first NFL start due to a Mason Rudolph injury on October 13th, surprisingly beating the Los Angeles Chargers. While the defense is what ultimately gave the Steelers the win, Hodges did what was needed to be done, throwing for 132 passing yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception.
Following his win against the Bengals, the Steelers have a quarterback controversy. While Rudolph was the 3rd round pick in his draft class, compared to Hodges being undrafted in his, the offense looks better with Hodges on the field. The Steelers have somehow managed to stay alive in the playoff race despite their inconsistency at the quarterback position. It may be time to give Hodges the nod heading forward, as this team has a very small window for error, with their hopes of attaining a spot in the playoffs in January.