Plays of the Year: Steelers’ Rudolph and Washington connect for their first touchdowns of the season
Steel City Underground presents “Games of the Year” featuring the best runs, catches, hits and everything else from the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offense got off to a strong start in the Week 10 game with the Detroit Lions. After kicking off, Pittsburgh orchestrated an 83-yard drive that was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown between Mason Rudolph and James Washington.
With Ben Roethlisberger on COVID-19 protocol, Rudolph got his first start of the season as a Steelers quarterback: on short notice too, as the announcement was made around 7 p.m. ET Saturday night!
That didn’t seem to phase the backup QB, as Rudolph led the offense down the field with poise. Pittsburgh opted to use running and passing in nearly equal measure, as rookie running back Najee Harris gained 24 yards on five carries. Rudolph went four for four through the air.
Washington’s touchdown play was preceded by a play that involved a high slam from Kendrick Green that Rudolph managed to control as the offensive line held off Detroit’s pass rush. The game ended with a nice catch-and-run from Ray-Ray McCloud. Finding a rhythm, Rudolph attempted a pass to Washington which was denied due to defensive pass interference on Amani Oruwariye.
The third and eighth just three plays later, Rudolph was able to find his former collegiate teammate, Washington, wide open on the right side of the end zone. The ball was set high and Washington leapt without any pressure to score its first receiving touchdown of the 2021 NFL regular season.
The play was also Rudolph’s first touchdown this season.
Although the Steelers offense scored again on their first possession, they went cold on their next four possessions, which created a need for overtime.
Washington also finished the game with two receptions on six targets for 15 yards.
In the bonus football period, Rudolph would complete a field strike, connecting with Diontae Johnson on a 36-yard pass. However, the Steelers’ top receiver fumbled the ball.
It nearly doomed the Steelers, but Lions kicker Ryan Santoso missed a 48-yard field goal, giving Pittsburgh another opportunity. An aborted snap in the next practice would doom the Steelers offense to return the ball, but they would get yet another shot – but as Johnson did earlier, Pat Freiermuth would also fumble when setting up a position on the pitch for a potential Chris Boswell match-winning shot.
This would result in a final score of 16-16, for a tie between the teams.