Steelers Devlin Hodges looked promising in his first three NFL starts, but his performance against the Bills showed why he’s not the answer at quarterback in the future.
It’s hard not to like Devlin Hodges. He has had an incredible journey to begin his NFL career – working his way up from the fourth quarterback on the roster in August to become the Steelers current starter with Ben Roethlisberger out.
There wasn’t anyone predicting that the undrafted rookie and former practice squad quarterback was going to see NFL action this season. In August, he sat behind Big Ben, Mason Rudolph, and Josh Dobbs on the Steelers depth chart. However, Dobbs was traded back in September just before Pittsburgh found out the severity of Roethlisberger’s injury.
Mason Rudolph was then forced into action in his second season, but after a concussion left him motionless on the field against the Ravens, it was time for Duck Hodges to step into action. Hodges was impressive in his first 3 NFL starts – earning a perfect 3-0 record.
While many were hoping Hodges could be the guy that gives Pittsburgh a legitimate chance at winning playoff games, he doesn’t seem to be the answer to their offensive problems.
Hodges was humiliated by the Buffalo Bills in a 17-10 loss on Sunday Night Football – throwing 4 interceptions and fumbling the ball on one of his four sacks he took. The undrafted quarterback showcased sporadic accuracy and ball placement to go with pedestrian arm strength down the field. James Washington ran wide open at least three times on plays that would have been touchdowns, but Hodges underthrew him twice and didn’t see that nobody was covering him on a wide-open slant.
However, even worse than his accuracy or his floating passes was Duck’s decision making Sunday night. Despite the defense playing lights-out football against Josh Allen and company, Hodges felt the need to force balls into double coverage down the field – ultimately resulting in Pittsburgh’s demise.
There are certain things I love about Hodges. I love how he isn’t afraid to let the ball fly and that he is constantly trying to make plays down the field, rather than just dink and dunk his way past the defense. I also loved the confidence he carried himself with, and how he never seemed phased in big moments.
Unfortunately, that confidence will now be put to the test. After the worst performance of his football career, Hodges will be forced to put the past behind him and lead the Steelers to a victory on the road against the Jets in a must-win game this week.
While it’s still entirely possible that the Steelers could see the playoffs this season, Duck’s performance gives us little confidence that Pittsburgh could advance beyond the first round or that he could, potentially, be a quarterback who could contend for the job when Ben hangs up his cleats. Let’s hope he proves us wrong.