It may have taken nearly a full season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have found new life on offense. However, I don't think anyone would have expected that their resurgence would come with their third-string quarterback at the helm.
Last week, Mason Rudolph raised eyebrows with an impressive performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in which his team managed to put a whopping 34 points on the board (their highest total in two seasons). Fans questioned whether or not the veteran backup would be able to repeat his performance. It's safe to say that it wasn't just a fluke.
From the very first drive of the game, Pittsburgh's offense showed the aggressiveness that this team has been missing all season. After stalling on downs, the Steelers marched the length of the field for a 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive near the end of the first quarter.
Pittsburgh would go on to score 10 points over their next two positions and 30 points in their 30-23 win over the Seahawks in Week 17. The score could have been even higher had Najee Harris not given himself up near the goal line so the team could run the clock out (a very unselfish play on his part).
There were several spectacular offensive performances by the Steelers in this contest. Najee and Jaylen Warren were chewing up yardage like leftover Christmas candy, while George Pickens went off for 7 receptions and 131 yards in this contest. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the brilliance of Mason Rudulph in Week 17.
Mason Rudolph just ended the Steelers QB debate for the season finale
From the gate, Rudolph was cool, calm, and collected from the pocket. He surveyed the field, made good decisions with the football, and delivered accurate passes to his receivers.
His most impressive play of the game came on a critical third down. Looking to avoid giving the ball back to the Seahawks for a chance to steal the lead in the fourth quarter, Rudolph stood tough in the pocket with pressure barreling down and delivered a remarkable pass on a deep corner route to George Pickens (who made a miraculous diving reception).
Quite honestly, Rudolph has been everything fans needed to see over the past two weeks (and more). He would finish the game completing 18 of 24 passes for 274 yards and a 112.2 passer rating, per ESPN stats, while setting up 3 rushing scores for his running backs.
What stands out the most, however, is Rudolph's outstanding 11.4 yards per attempt in this contest. His willingness to throw the ball down the field and over the middle of the field is something that has been non-existent from Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky each of the past two seasons.
In back-to-back weeks (and his only two appearances since 2021), Mason Rudolph has managed to lead the Steelers to at least 30 points and upwards of 395 total yards of offense. Against the Seahawks, Pittsburgh had an astonishing 468 yards of offense.
Before this game, many fans were wondering if a healthy Kenny Pickett could return to the field for the season finale. We can now safely put that discussion to rest. There's not a chance that Mike Tomlin is demoting Mason Rudolph to the bench after the way his offense has performed in back-to-back weeks.
I am confident that the job will be Rudolph's in Week 18 in the season finale against the Ravens. And if all goes well, he could be the QB playing in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.