PITTSBURGH (GSM) – As the Steelers gear up to face the LA Chargers Sunday, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster says he is not nervous about playing in the West Coast with the team’s 3rd string quarterback Devlin Hodges. Hodges, who entered the game in week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens — following an injury to Mason Rudolph — completed 7-9 passes for 68 yards.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers defensive end TJ Watt spent his 25th birthday at practice while his team and admirers took to social media sending well wishes. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt sent some brotherly love as well as his younger brother embarks on a quarter of a century.
Heading into the week 6 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, Watt has 17 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and 1 interception.
For your birthday, I will post the most badass photo that has been taken of you in your 25 years of life. Hope you have a great birthday @_TJWatt!!! Incredibly proud of all you’ve accomplished and grateful to call you my brother. Even bigger things ahead!!! pic.twitter.com/A7xIrRi2S0
PITTSBURGH (GSM) – A scary moment came in the 3rd quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens where Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked out following a vicious hit by Earl Thomas. The hit left him unconscious for several minutes and an obvious stoppage of play. Rudolph was able to walk off of the field, woozy and discombobulated.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media confirming the aftermath was a concussion. “I thought he represented himself well. He gave us a chance. You have to tip your hat to him.” Tomlin said. “You are talking about a guy that didn’t make our opening 53 and all those things, we know his story. You also have to acknowledge that he has done some good things at every step along the way through the team development process when given the opportunity and that is why he is in the position that he is in. That is probably why he made the positive showing in spots that he did today.”
The Steelers lost the game 26-23 and travel to the West Coast to face the Chargers on Sunday.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) – The Steelers check the box in the win category!
The Cincinnati Bengals went into Heinz Field winless as were the Steelers prior to the Monday Night matchup. Both teams were 0 and 3 and in need of a victory, especially against opponents in the AFC North division. Pittsburgh, however was relentless against the Bengals sacking quarterback Andy Dalton 8 times in the game, setting a precedent early and not letting up. The final score was Pittsburgh 27 Cincinnati 3. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after the game said, “In an effort for us to be at our best, it takes collaborative work in all three phases to produce an environment where your strengths get an opportunity to show. And it was able to show tonight.” Tomlin’s team rallied around 2nd year quarterback Mason Rudolph who was awarded the team ball.
Rudolph getting his first win as a starter didn’t disappoint in the statistical category. He completed 24 of 28 passes for 229 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. His quarterback rating was 124.6 which is the league’s 3rd highest for week 4, only behind Philip Rivers of the LA Chargers and Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota. Rudolph clearly excited about his first win as a pro but seemed to remain humble calling it a group effort. “It’s great. Unbelievable team win.” Rudolph said. “A lot of leadership in the locker room and guys that know how to win and guys who have won a lot of games in their careers. We stuck together all week even with the rough start. Our message all week was stack one and then start stacking more. That is the plan moving forward and we have a heck of a group of guys that are going to do that.”
Running back James Conner, who scored a touchdown in the game holds his teammates — especially the defense — in high regard saying, “I think our defense started it off. The defense created a turnover early and those big sacks on third down. Just playing off each other – the momentum.”
Rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson scored his second touchdown this season and received his first win as a professional player. He caught a 43-yard strike from Rudolph in the 3rd quarter.
The Steelers have back-to-back home games and are already preparing to face another AFC North rival in the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.