Over the last several weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the hottest teams in the league. The Steelers have surged into the thick of the playoff picture with just three games left in the regular season. It has seen undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges take over the reins to steady the ship for the Steelers in a huge way under center. That has also put Hodges on track to place himself in the NFL record books.
Devlin Hodges’ NFL journey
Before entering the NFL, Hodges had a four-year collegiate career for Samford Bulldogs, where he was the starter in every campaign.
That saw him earn the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year award three times, along with receiving the 2018 Walter Payton award. Hodges had a decorated collegiate career that saw him set the NCAA FCS all-time mark with 14,584 passing yards, which was previously held by Steve McNair when he was at Alcorn State.
Although Hodges’ impressive college career didn’t earn him a selection in this year’s draft, he signed with the Steelers as a free agent back in May. He was waived by the team just before the start of the regular season but was brought back on the team’s active roster after Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury.
Hodges was hinged as the backup to Mason Rudolph until the team elected to move into a direction by putting him in the starting lineup over the last few weeks that has led to a successful stretch to his brief NFL career.
Devlin Hodges set to make NFL history
Since taking over as the starter, Hodges has been a steadying factor under center for the Steelers that has seen him help guide the team to three straight wins that have put them in the thick of the playoff picture.
The opportunity to start his fourth straight game in Week 15 action against the Buffalo Bills puts him in line to set NFL history, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk.
Hodges is the first undrafted rookie to win his first three starts since Ed Rubbert did it for Washington as a replacement player during the 1987 strike. Rubbert never got a fourth start, but Hodges will make his next Sunday night and another win will make it likelier that his rookie year ends with postseason action.
Hodges hasn’t had any standout performances, but he has brought much-needed stability to the position that the team lacked from Rudolph. He has only passed for north of 200 yards once but has a touchdown pass in each contest while holding a passer rating above 115 twice during that stretch.
More importantly, his play has allowed their stout defense to truly hone in to make a difference during their current four-game winning streak that has him in a prime position to make the playoffs.
Steelers’ playoff outlook
Entering the final three weeks of the regular season, the Steelers are in a promising spot towards securing a playoff position.
Pittsburgh currently holds the sixth and final postseason spot despite holding the same record as the Tennesse Titans, with the difference being a tie break based on win percentage in conference games. The Steelers have their playoff destiny in their own hands, closing out the season against the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.
Week 15 action against the Bills could prove to be pivotal as Pittsburgh trails them by just one game heading into the contest. A win would give them a tiebreaker that could significantly impact their playoff hopes. Ultimately, the Steelers control their fate, and Hodges looks to be right in the center of it all.