The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday dropped the team to 0-2, and it created a whole lot of potential issues for them going forward. One particularly big one came when starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left late in the first half with an elbow injury:
Here's a video of the Ben Roethlisberger injury.pic.twitter.com/PsP1Z1Rhxy
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 15, 2019
Backup quarterback Mason Rudolph came in in relief, and he got off to an inauspicious start. His first pass fell incomplete, and his second was intercepted after it fell through receiver Donte Moncrief’s hands:
I would like to again ask the question…
Why are we still throwing the ball to Donte Moncrief?
What are we expecting to happen?? pic.twitter.com/4GvN1uPUxm
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) September 15, 2019
That’s a good question, especially as Moncrief (who the Steelers signed to a two-year deal in March a few days after trading Antonio Brown to the Raiders) said he’d played his “worst game ever” last week (three catches on 10 targets for seven yards, credited with four drops). But Sunday’s tip-to-interception was particularly brutal, and things didn’t get better for him after that; that was his only target of the game, as per NFL.com.
Rudolph’s play went way up, though. The second-year pivot out of Oklahoma State finished with 12 completions on 19 attempts (63.2 percent) for 112 yards and two touchdowns, plus that interception, giving him a better line than Roethlisberger (who completed eight of 15 passes for 75 yards before he left the game). And he pulled off some nice plays, including this flea-flicker:
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) September 15, 2019
And the Steelers made it close (with the help of a late Seattle fumble that let Rudolph start one of those touchdown drives from the Seahawks’ three-yard line) in the end, eventually falling 28-26. Still, that wasn’t quite enough, and there are going to be plenty of questions for Pittsburgh going forward.