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Mason Rudolph to Start

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made the decision to start veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph in Week 16 against the Bengals, as announced by head coach Mike Tomlin on Monday. This decision comes as a response to the unavailability of top option Kenny Pickett, who is nursing an ankle injury.

Tomlin confirmed to reporters, "As I stand here today, Mason Rudolph is the guy with the ball." Rudolph will be stepping in for Mitchell Trubisky, who has been filling in for Pickett in the last two games.

Pickett has been sidelined since sustaining a high ankle sprain in Week 13, which required surgery. While there is a possibility of Pickett returning in time to play against Cincinnati this Saturday, Tomlin has left the door open for his potential comeback, with it being more likely for Pickett to make his return in Week 17 against the Seahawks.

The decision to start Rudolph comes after Trubisky's performances left much to be desired. Despite completing 22 of 35 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown in a Week 14 start, Trubisky also threw a costly interception in a game that saw the Steelers' offense struggle. This led to chants from fans at Acrisure Stadium calling for Rudolph. Subsequently, Rudolph was brought in to replace Trubisky in the second half of a 30-13 loss to the Colts following Trubisky's second interception of the day.

Rudolph, with starting experience in his five-year NFL career, has previously replaced the injured Ben Roethlisberger in 2019, starting eight games and recording a 5-3 record. Despite his limited starts since then and finding himself third on the depth chart after the acquisition of Trubisky in the 2022 offseason, Tomlin expressed confidence in Rudolph's abilities.

Tomlin explained the decision to make the change, stating, "We don't like what we're looking at in the consistency of it. What I mean is we're not scoring enough points. Particularly as we move into December football, you've got to score more than 12, 14, 16 points in games this time of year."

With the Steelers facing a tough spot with three weeks left in the 2023 regular season, including three consecutive losses and challenging matchups against playoff-hungry teams, the responsibility now falls on Rudolph to help the team secure much-needed victories and keep their playoff hopes alive.

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