Mike Tomlin He entered the Steelers interview room at Heinz Field on his way to his car when one of his players was answering questions from the assembled media. He looked up at the stage to see who was talking, and a smile formed on his face. Then, after circling around the back of the room, Tomlin gave another smile and shook his head as he walked out the door.
I had been listening to the rookie quarterback Devlin & # 39; Duck & # 39; Hodges Field question after question. And even he has to be a little surprised by the things that Hodges and the nameless offense is accomplishing.
The last was a 20-13 winning here on Sunday over the Browns that essentially destroyed Cleveland's playoff hopes while keeping those of the Steelers alive. And it was Hodges, making his second start of the season, who was the catalyst this week, pitching for 212 yards and a touchdown, overcoming the duel. Baker Mayfield, the general selection number 1 in the 2018 NFL Draft.
"I thought he had played his tail," Tomlin said of Hodges with a smile. "Without analyzing it in excess, just a general synopsis, I thought I had played the tail."
Of course, before, Tomlin had joked, as he had done last Tuesday, that Hodges did not kill the Steelers. No, in this case, he killed the Browns.
Its not cute. It is not high-flying. But the Steelers continue to find ways to win. The victory was the sixth of the Steelers in their last seven games and avenged that one defeat: a 21-7 defeat three weeks ago at the hands of the Browns in Cleveland.
Mason Rudolph He started that game, throwing four interceptions. But Tomlin turned things over to Hodges, a rookie not recruited from Samford, for this game and the Steelers' offense responded by scoring multiple touchdowns in a game for the first time in his last five outings.
Hodges didn't do it alone and the Steelers certainly didn't do it quickly. While Mayfield relied heavily on his star-lined lineup to lead the Browns to a 10-0 lead in the first half, it seemed the Steelers were going to have a long day.
But the Browns made a crucial mistake when Sheldon Richardson, who had been very frank about the Steelers and what he felt for them last week, jumped out of play in a third and 9 play at the Pittsburgh 18.
Up to that point in the middle of the second quarter, the Steelers had won nine total yards. But seeing Richardson jump out of play, catcher James Washington took off by the band line.
"I looked down the line," said Washington. "I wasn't sure at first, but I saw him cross the ball and I left. Sure enough, Duck threw it."
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