Mason Rudolph stands between the Cleveland Browns and the postseason.
The Cleveland Browns might’ve suffered a crippling loss to the New York Jets last week, but they could break their 18-year playoff drought with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. A victory would give them an 11-5 record and a wild card spot.
The Browns will not have to face Pittsburgh at full strength, as Ben Roethlisberger will spend Week 17 in street clothes on the sidelines.
Roethlisberger will get a week off in Week 17, which means that Cleveland will need to take down Mason Rudolph if they want to make it to the postseason.
Mason Rudolph will start for the Steelers on Sunday vs. the Browns.
Rudolph meets the Browns again.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 29, 2020
Mason Rudolph’s performances have varied wildly in his career
Rudolph, who was picked in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State, looked like a potential stud quarterback given his 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame and his strong arm. The Steelers went 5-3 in games Rudolph has started, with the man himself throwing for 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
While Rudolph was criticized for his refusal to throw deep downfield, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has been under pressure for the last few seasons for overly conservative gameplans, which might explain his 6.2 yards per attempt average.
Of his nine picks, four of them came in an infamous primetime loss against Cleveland in 2019 that saw Browns defensive end Myles Garrett rip Rudolph’s helmet off and use it as a weapon. Hopefully, this AFC North rivalry is much less bombastic than what we saw last season.
Browns fans have to be thrilled with Rudolph started over Roethlisberger, but the Browns are fresh off losing to a Jets team quarterbacked by Sam Darnold and coached by Adam Gase, so absolutely nothing is guaranteed. If the Browns do finally end their postseason drought, Baker Mayfield and company will, bizarrely, have Mike Tomlin to thank for this momentous occasion.