The Heinz Subject crowd was booing.
The hometown Pittsburgh Steelers had been trailing the Miami Dolphins 14-Zero late within the first quarter. That was somewhat ironic contemplating the Steelers had been 14-point favorites.
Quarterback Mason Rudolph understood the followers’ sentiment. He wasn’t very joyful both after finishing simply two of his first eight passes
“Hey, I’d have booed that efficiency, too,” Rudolph stated. “I imply, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers – there’s an ordinary right here We weren’t assembly on the time.”
The Steeles wound up scoring the sport’s closing 27 factors as they rallied for a 27-14 victory on Monday evening.
It was not a really fairly victory. Actually, it was just about a slog.
Nevertheless, that is how the Steelers must win video games for the remainder of this season. The times of constructing splash play after splash play and overwhelming opponents with playmakers is gone – or not less than placed on maintain till 2020.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season after tearing an elbow ligament Sept. 16. Operating again Le’Veon Bell is within the Meadowlands with the Jets. Antonio Brown is taking on-line programs at Central Michigan as an alternative of in his customary function of being one of many high huge receivers within the NFL.
The Steelers’ victories now should are available in decidedly unsexy methods. Their offense entered the week 28th within the NFL in complete yardage.
As a substitute of with the ability to strike from wherever on the sector, the offense is extra methodical. It consists of consuming up yards on the bottom whereas conserving a comparatively tight leash on Rudolph, a second-year professional who didn’t take a snap as a rookie.
An ideal instance got here on the Steelers’ first possession of the second half. They drove 97 yards in 16 performs, a march that consumed 7:37, earlier than Rudolph capped it with a 25-yard landing move to huge receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
That put the Steelers forward for good at 17-14. It additionally put a giant smile on coach Mike Tomlin’s face.
“It was evident of successful the road of scrimmage as the sport wore on,” Tomlin stated. “That’s what you need. That’s what you attempt for.”
And that enabled the Steelers to keep away from the indignity of shedding to the rebuilding/tanking Dolphins. The win improved the Steelers’ file to Three-Four as they inch nearer to .500 following an Zero-Three begin.
The Steelers had 394 yards of complete offense and most of its good points got here in small and medium-sized chunks, save Rudolph’s 45-yard landing move to rookie huge receiver Dionte Johnson with 17 seconds left within the second quarter that drew Pittsburgh inside 14-10.
Even on that play, Rudolph’s move traveled simply two yards within the air. Johnson caught it on the Dolphins’ 43 and outraced the protection to the tip zone, aided by a crushing block from huge receiver James Washington.
“I simply took what the protection gave us there,” Rudolph stated.
The Steeles had been in a position to grind issues out partly to the regular effort of operating again James Conner, who had 145 yards and a 9-yard landing run on 23 carries.
Rudolph was not spectacular, however he was strong. He wound up finishing 20 of 36 passes for 251 yards and the 2 scores.
Rudolph had not play since sustaining a concussion Oct. 6 in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens. He sat out the next week’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers and the Steelers had their bye final week.
“There may be all the time that angst when you’re coming off a bye week of warming as much as the motion,” Tomlin stated. “I assumed we might have began sooner, not solely with him, however all of us.
“However actually excited, good to get Mason again within the fold He knocked somewhat rust off and obtained going and located some rhythm.”
Smith-Schuster had 5 receptions for 103 yards and Johnson caught 5 passes for 84 yards. Not Brown-type numbers essentially however adequate.
Time will inform if the Steelers can by some means work their means into playoff rivalry. Although they’re in second place within the AFC North, they path the Ravens (5-2) by two video games and Baltimore holds the tiebreaker with the head-to-head win.
The schedule additionally will get harder as they the AFC South-leading Indianapolis Colts and the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams the following two weeks. Nevertheless, Monday evening’s efficiency supplied a ray of hope.
“We’re making ourselves extra of a whole offense,” Randolph stated.
Even when it’s not practically as spectacular as lately.