Outperforming Baker Mayfield was first step for Steelers QB Devlin Hodges
Steelers QB Devlin Hodges led his team to victory over the Browns on Sunday. Here’s why outperforming the former 1st overall pick is a great step in the right direction.
Nobody out there could have predicted that undrafted rookie, Devlin Hodges, would be the Steelers starting quarterback of choice in Week 13. At the start of September, Pittsburgh had Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, and Josh Dobbs on the roster.
However, just a trade and an injury later, the Steelers were forced to turn to Rudolph in his second NFL season. Things got off to a great start for the Oklahoma State product as he nearly led his team to a comeback victory against the Seahawks in Week 2.
While Rudolph was able to do just enough to keep his team afloat, he has not progressed like Mike Tomlin would have hoped, so Tomlin made the call to switch quarterbacks. Devlin Hodges (or “Duck,” as he is quickly becoming known by) has been impressive in limited action this year.
After Rudolph was knocked unconscious against the Ravens, Hodges was forced to lead the charge against the Chargers in the following week – securing his first NFL victory in as many performances.
This week, Hodges was faced with the task of taking down the Cleveland Browns – a team still in the playoff hunt and no doubt seeking revenge for the suspensions they were handed the first time around.
Baker Mayfield is a young quarterback who shows a lot of promise. However, even as the former 1st overall pick in 2018, Hodges managed to outplay him on Sunday. This is certainly a big step in the right direction for him and for the Steelers.
Mayfield finished the game completing 18 of 32 passes for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception to go with his 71.9 passer rating. He was also sacked 5 times in the game. Meanwhile, Hodges managed more yards (212) on significantly fewer attempts (21). His yards per attempt (10.1) and passer rating (95.7) were both significantly higher than Mayfield’s numbers on Sunday.
While Baker clearly played against the better defense, Hodges was certainly impressive in just his second NFL start. Though he has less than 3 full games played this year, Hodges’s 8.7 yards per attempt on the season is second among all quarterbacks (minimum of 50 attempts).
Some of the names directly below him on the list include Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Russell Wilson. This is certainly subject to change, as Hodges’s 61 career pass attempts may not be an accurate enough basis at this point. Still, his willingness to look down the field is certainly impressive.
Hodges still has a long ways to go before we dub him the err apparent to Ben Roethlisberger, but outperforming Baker Mayfield in a must-win game was certainly a step in the right direction. Let’s hope he continues to progress much faster than Mason Rudolph did.