Mason Rudolph 'really, really, really impressed' Steelers teammates in NFL debut


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It's been a while since Ben Roethlisberger has missed a game because of injury, but the Steelers appear optimistic his backup can get the job done in his absence.

Third-year quarterback Mason Rudolph filled in for Roethlisberger to start the second half of Sunday's game against the Seahawks after the veteran was sidelined with an elbow injury that has knocked him out for the rest of the season.

Despite Pittsburgh's 28-26 loss to drop to 0-2, Rudolph garnered praise from the Steelers locker room after finishing 12 of 19 for 112 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"Mason did a really, really, really good job today," tight end Vance McDonald told reporters after the game, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He’s thrown the ball and made his reads, and he’s very deliberate about that. It’s something we can look forward to on offense. I think him and (offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner) have a great connection.

"He’s come a long way since last year. If he’s our guy, he’s our guy. We’ve got to move forward with him."

Added All-Pro guard David DeCastro: "I was really, really, really impressed. He did well (Sunday).

"He handled himself really well. Really proud of him, how he came in ready to go. He knew the playbook, had a big command, and he mixed some of the cadences, too. That was impressive."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin asserted his faith in Rudolph as he called the backup "capable," saying the team is also "capable of functioning in a very normal manner when he’s in there."

Roethlisberger was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points during the first half Sunday and exited to the locker room at one point before returning to the sideline to play through the injury. He underwent an MRI exam Sunday and the team announced Monday he will

have surgery.

Despite the loss of Roethlisberger, who will be missing in action due to injury for the first time since Week 7 of the 2016 season, Rudolph said he's "ready to roll."

"I am completely confident in myself," Rudolph said, "(in) being a leader of a team and playing games. That’s what it all comes down to."

The Steelers will look to avoid an 0-3 start when they visit the 2-0 49ers in Week 3.