The 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers season has been anything but straightforward. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury, forcing Mason Rudolph to take over the starting role; he, in turn, gave way to Devlin Hodges. Despite all of the team’s inconsistencies, the Steelers still have a chance to qualify for the playoffs, if Week 17 results break kindly.
In order to qualify for the postseason, Pittsburgh will need to win their game and then get some help from the Houston Texans. While it won’t be an easy scenario for anyone, Devlin Hodges won’t be intimidated; he’ll be leaning on one piece of advice from his teammates.
Devlin Hodges’ time in and out of the Steelers line-up
No team ever wants their third-string quarterback to see a significant amount of playing time. Devlin Hodges, however, has been a key part of the Pittsburgh Steelers season.
In Week 2, Roethlisberger left the game with elbow discomfort; he managed to avoid a dreaded Tommy John surgery, he still went under the knife for a season-ending procedure. Mason Rudolph took over the starting job and played capably in relief, but soon suffered a concussion against the Baltimore Ravens. With their back-up also on the shelf, Devlin Hodges was forced into action for a game and a half. When Rudolph returned to health, however, Hodges headed back to the sidelines.
Since then, however, neither quarterback has seized the starting job. Hodges took over the first-team snaps midway through Week 12 but lost the job himself during Week 16. After entering the game in relief, though. Rudolph suffered a shoulder injury against the Jets. That means Hodges will be the man under center for Sunday’s must-win game against the Baltimore Ravens.
What Devlin Hodges has to do on Sunday
Devlin Hodges might be a rookie, but he’ll have a baptism of fire on Sunday afternoon. If the Steelers want to make the playoffs, their young quarterback will have to come up clutch.
“It’s definitely a must-win,” Hodges said during the week. “We have to win the game and see what other things happen. We’re focused on us and focused on what we’ve got to do to win the game.”
With the season on the line, Hodges has received plenty of advice from the veterans in the locker room. One message, however, rings true for the quarterback. “They have just told me, ‘Hey man, still be you. Still be Duck. You have gotten the job done before, we know you can do it,” Hodges explained. “Just go out there and do it.”
It won’t be easy for the Steelers to make the playoffs
Even with the Baltimore Ravens resting their starters, it won’t be easy for the Steelers to make the playoffs. Hodges needs to do more than just be himself; he’ll have to overcome his recent issues with turnovers. If he’s able to keep things simple on offense hold onto the ball, Pittsburgh can try to control the game. Not only will that help the Steelers put points on the board, but it will keep the Ravens off the field.
“I just have to take a step back to how I was playing those first couple of games and taking what the defense gives me,” Hodges said. “I have all of the confidence in the world in myself and the guys, and I just have to go out and do it.”
It won’t be easy for Devlin Hodges to get the Steelers into the playoffs but, if he can pull it off, he’ll become a hero in Pittsburgh.