“I thought he was awesome. He didn’t just manage the game. He went out and won the game.” — Ben on Mason Rudolph’s performance on Monday Night Football.
From Ben’s interview with Ron Cook, at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Mason Rudolph received the ultimate endorsement after leading the Steelers by the Cincinnati Bengals for his first win as an NFL starting quarterback.
This was late Monday night after the Steelers trashed the Bengals, 27-3. Roethlisberger stopped on his way out of Heinz Field and made his first public comments since his elbow injury against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 15. He spoke not just about Rudolph, but about the team moving forward without him, his surgery in Los Angeles Sept. 23 and his hope to return in 2020 for his 17th NFL season.
“Absolutely, I plan on playing again,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s my absolute goal. That’s why we did the surgery. The reason we did it and did it so soon is because I want to come back. I don’t have any doubts in my head about that. If you have doubts, then you’ve already lost. It’s going to be a long road, but I’m excited for the opportunity to show I can do it.
“I want to go out on my own terms. No one wants to leave on an injury they can’t control.”
Roethlisberger watched the second half of the Seattle game from the sideline and saw Rudolph throw two touchdown passes in a 28-26 loss. He was back on the sideline Monday night — his right elbow in a cast — and saw Rudolph complete 24 of 28 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and a 124.6 passer rating.
“He did everything they asked him to do,” Roethlisberger said of Rudolph. “He made plays. He made big plays when we needed him to. He took a check-down when we needed him to. He threw deep when we needed him to. He even lined up at wide receiver [in the wildcat formation] when we needed him to. He did a lot more than just manage the game. I tried to help him. I told him before the game, ‘I’ll do as much or as little as you want. I’m here.’ We talked during the game. He grabbed me when we came into the locker room after the game and told me, ‘Thanks for your help. I appreciate you being there.’ I just told him, ‘Any way I can help.’ I don’t want to do too much if he doesn’t want me to, but I’ll do as much as he wants.”
“It’s really hard not being able to play,” he said, “but I’m going to do what I can to support Mason and the guys.”
More from his interview here.
*Thank you once again to Ed Thompson for another great action photo from last night’s game!