Let’s get this straight right off the bat, the Steelers’ humiliating loss to the Browns was a TEAM FAILURE. It was not all Mason Rudolph’s fault. As the following will show the first year starter was hamstrung by horrible Offensive Line play and even worse play by the offensive skill position group.
In order to complete this article I had to rewatch this abortion of a game twice. I have broken down the entire offensive part of the game and have left the Defense out of it but Mason Rudolph got very little help from them, as well.
Here is a ‘highlight’ video. Watch it if you dare.
Steelers Offensive Game Breakdown.
Here I’m breaking down offensive team failed plays that were not Mason Rudolph’s fault. These include runs that go for no yards or are a loss, dropped passes, pocket collapses and offensive line penalties. I’ve also included when players were knocked out the game. Rudolph lost his RB1 and WR1 in the first half. He lost his best available remaining WR early in the 2nd half.
1) Conner one yard loss run
2) Conner one yard run
3) #1 PC Cleveland blitzes PC Morgan Burnett unblocked throwaway.
4) Low snap forces hurry Conner can’t make catch in the flat
5) OL P #1 Complete pass to VM negated by AV holding call
6) #2 PC Washington loses track of ball can’t make catch.
7) Conner no gain 3rd and 3.
8) #3 PC Shoebert pushes Trey Edmunds into Rudolph’s arm
9) Boswell misses 44 yard kick on bobbled snap.
10) #4 Pocket collapses on 4th and One Low throw Juju can’t make catch.
11) Conner re-injures shoulder with 04 seconds left in the 1st Qtr.. RB1 out for the game
12) #5 PC OL P #2 AV holding call brings 2nd and 17
13) #6 PC Drop #1 Holton drops 1st down pass that hits him in chest.
14) Drop #2 Ball goes through Juju’s hands
15) PC Juju catches and drops pass on contact. Helmet to helmet hit against MR negates play. Two uncalled helmet to helmet hits on Juju cause concussion. 9:09 left in 2nd Qtr. WR1 out for the game.
16) #6 PC as MR dumps to T Edmunds. 2nd and 3
17) OL Penalty #3 Edmunds run for two yards negated by Zach Banner holding penalty.
18) Edmunds one yard loss brings 4th and 2
19) #7 PC Ramon Foster misses block and Ogojobi unblocked MR throws it away turnover on downs.
20) #8 PC 6 man blitz. 7 yard pass loss MR hit to head no call.
1st Int. flea flicker ball placed where it needed to be and Denzel Ward tips pass Morgan Burnett int. This is the point where Randy Fichtner gave up on the game plan and just started trying things hoping something would work. 3:41 left in 2nd Qtr.
21) #9 PC Delay blitz brings 4 weakside ball knocked out MRs hands
22) #10 PC MF gets badly beaten for sack. Troy Aikman says pocket collapses on both sides. “Browns rushed four and you would think they rushed six.’
23) Jaylen Samuels zero yards
24) #11 PC – Drop #3 JW drops pass
25) Ball goes through DJs hands H to H penalty saves play. 8:05 left in 3rd Qtr DJ out for game with concussion.
22 yard pass to JW. Troy Aikman notes it’s first time MR had clean pocket. 7 mins into 3rd quarter
26) OL P #4 MF false start 3rd and 6
27) Browns blitz pocket collapses negated by penalty against VM
19 yard pass to JW. Steelers on Browns 41 only down 7 to 14. Troy remarks again few times MR has had a clean pocket.
28) Uncalled PI penalty on long pass to Holton
29) Another uncalled PI penalty on what would’ve been a TD pass to Holton
30) #12 PC 4 and 1 pocket collapses on MR incomplete pass.
31) Long pass to Holton who can’t make the catch.
32) MR throws into coverage to JW Interception. JW was open when ball was thrown Shoebert dropped in coverage for int.
Browns get a TD and start acting like they’ve won the Super Bowl.
33) #13 Pocket collapses on MR incomplete
34) #14 Pocket collapses on MR incomplete
35) #15 pocket collapses on MR incomplete
36) #16 Pocket collapses MR sacked
37) #17 Pocket collapses MR sacked
Miles Garrett assault with a deadly weapon.
Matt Feiler looks like he wants to kick ass.
Joe Buck ‘People in his face all night” Troy Aikman “He didn’t have much of a chance in this game’”
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Team Failed Plays.
Dropped Passes – 3
Pocket Collapses – 17
QB hits – 10
Sacks – 4 (NONE were coverage sacks. They were pocket collapses)
Offensive Line penalties – 3
A total of 37 Team Failed Plays most of them on pass plays that were in no way MR’s fault. The Steelers threw the ball 44 times so almost every pass play had a team failure.
Production form Skill Position #1s
#1 WR – Juju Smith-Schuster 2 receptions 21 yards 10.5 1 drop
#1 RB – James Conner – 5 carries for 10 yards at 2.0 yards per
#1 TE – Vance McDonald – 3 receptions for 33 yards
Total Yards from #1s – 64 yards.
So, Mason Rudolph got no help from the Steelers ‘top’ offensive players.
Production from Run Game
Total Steelers Rushing – 58 yards
And he got no help from the running game.
Defense vs Defense
Cleveland Defense – 4 sacks and 11 QB hits. 10 pass deflections (Most of the pass deflections came from WRs who couldn’t get separation)
Steelers Defense – 1 sack 3 QB hits 3 pass deflections
To complete the Trifecta, no help form the Defense.
So, the point of all this is the Steelers failure against the Browns was a MASSIVE TEAM FAILURE. Mason Rudolph was doing everything he could do to win, not only with no help but with players whose failures were actually hindering him and making their conservative game plan impossible to execute.
The common knowledge that the Browns game proved that Mason Rudolph couldn’t lead the Steelers is not knowledge, at all. Quarterbacks are not super human beings who can overcome gross incompetence by their supporting cast they can’t force the O-Line to block or make the Running Backs run. They can’t force their WRs to get separation. They can’t run across the line of scrimmage and put the ball in a receiver’s hands to ensure they don’t drop the pass. Every Quarterback needs help from an at least competent supporting cast and Mason Rudolph got NONE.
Part 2 will cover a couple games where Mason Rudolph did get help and the team won as result, so, it will be a far less painful exercise.