BALTIMORE (GSM) — Week 17 of the NFL season is here and there are 2 slots left — in both the AFC and the NFC — for teams to enter the postseason. The 6th seed of both conferences are up for grabs and Pittsburgh is on the outside looking in, needing a win and needing help to reach the tournament.
The Steelers will need to win against the Ravens and the Titans will need to lose to the Texans in order to gain the last playoff spot.
Devlin “Duck” Hodges will get the start after throwing 2 interceptions against the Jets last week and was benched for Mason Rudolph. Rudolph was injured in the game after throwing a touchdown to Diontae Johnson and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.
After the shuffling of quarterbacks and leaving New York in the losing column, it is up to coaches and fellow teammates to help boost the morale of the team’s leader. In this case, “Duck” Hodges, by default. The undrafted quarterback has a chance to rebound from his latest performance and possibly solidify a spot o the roster in the future. Before that, it is imperative that his confidence is repaired.
In his weekly press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the importance of players being mentally stable.
“Having a hardcore plan; having a level of consistency in terms of the procedure that is preparation, creates a constant that is an anchor for guys. That allows them to build — not only preparation — but confidence associated with it as you get closer to game time.”–Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin
The Steelers — who have an uphill battle — now face a Baltimore Ravens team that has already secured the #1 spot in the AFC, are resting their starters and have nothing to play for.
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.