After losing three straight games late in the year, it's not surprising that the Pittsburgh Steelers are desperately looking for a spark. Quarterback Kenny Pickett was injured halfway through Pittsgburgh's Week 12 contest against the Cardinals and remains out after having ankle surgery.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are on a three-game losing streak after allowing 30 unanswered points to lose against the Colts in blowout fashion on Saturday. Mike Tomlin's team has a pivotal matchup on the horizon against the Bengals, and their playoff odds are already looking grim. The latest Steelers news brings a potentially significant change to the starting lineup.
Following the struggles of quarterback Mitch Trubisky, head coach Mike Tomlin has officially turned to third-string QB Mason Rudolph, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Rudolph will now look to keep the Steelers' season alive with a win against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16.
This decision comes just two days after Trubisky was benched in the fourth quarter against the Colts. The veteran QB finished the game completing 16 of 23 passes for 169 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Prior to entering the Week 15 contest against the Colts with under two minutes remaining, Rudolph hadn't seen the field for a regular season game since Week 16 of 2021 when he stepped in for Ben Roethlisberger and completed 5 of 8 passes for a mere 35 yards late against the Chiefs, per Pro Football Reference. The team hopes a change at the helm could give the Steelers a spark.
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In other Steelers news, Pittsburgh recently cut linebacker Tariq Carpenter from their practice squad. This comes immediately as we learn that Carpenter has been arrested on assault charges.
Carpenter saw the field three times for the Steelers this season from Week 9 to Week 11 but was demoted to the practice squad as Mykal Walker took over. With how poorly Walker and second-year linebacker Mark Robinson have played at times, they may have looked to Carpenter once more, but that will no longer be the case, as the linebacker faces legal issues.
Following the results around the league in Week 15, the Pittsburgh Steelers have dropped from the 6th seed all the way down to the 10th seed. This makes them the third team outside of the AFC playoff bubble.
According to Tankathon.com, if the season were to end today, the Steelers would hold the 16th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. This would be similar to last year when they held the 17th selection before trading up with New England for the 14th pick in round one.