Mason Rudolph immediately gave Steelers more offense than any QB all season

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

It's a Festivus miracle! The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is looking explosive thanks to perhaps the most unlikely of sources: quarterback Mason Rudolph.

For the Week 16 matchup against the rival Cincinnati Bengals, the third-stringer Rudolph finally got the nod as the starter from head coach Mike Tomlin after Mitchell Trubisky struggled mightily in his opportunities with Kenny Pickett out due to injury. And Rudolph provided immediate fireworks for the Steelers.

After stopping the Bengals on the first drive of the game and then starting with a Najee Harris run, Rudolph found a streaking George Pickens on the left side of the field. The dynamic second-year receiver then broke loose of the Cincinnati defense for an electric 86-yard touchdown.

Steelers get offensive explosion on Mason Rudolph's first throw

Sure, Pickens did the bulk of the work on that play, but seeing a quarterback start 1-for-1 with 86 yards and a touchdown on an offense that hasn't managed to hit 20+ points in its last five games certainly provides some different vibes for the Steelers.

This was Rudolph's first start of the 2023 season and only his fourth throw of the year after registering three attempts late in a blowout loss to the Colts in Week 15.

Of course, it's highly unlikely that Mason Rudolph is the full-blown answer to the Steelers' offensive issues. At the same time, though, Tomlin and the team have been looking for anything to spark this unit all season. Former offensive coordinator Matt Canada was fired, the approach has changed marginally at times, but the issues have remained.

Even if Rudolph got help from his receiver, perhaps the longtime veteran is good enough and experienced enough to give this unit a little bit of life in Pittsburgh. Or even if this 86-yard explosion was only a flash in the pan, it's still more than what we've seen at virtually any other time this year.

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