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Devlin Hodges named Pittsburgh Steelers' starting QB against Cleveland Browns

By
Connor Grott
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) fights to break free from Cincinnati Bengals defender Sam Hubbard (94) during the second half of play Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hodges replaced Mason Rudolph at quarterback in the game. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges (6) fights to break free from Cincinnati Bengals defender Sam Hubbard (94) during the second half of play Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hodges replaced Mason Rudolph at quarterback in the game. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are turning back to rookie quarterback Devlin "Duck" Hodges for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that Hodges will start in the rematch versus the Browns. The coach cautioned that it isn't a permanent decision as the Steelers (6-5) continue their late-season playoff push.

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"We met as a staff, [and] we decided that we're going to start 'Duck' this week," Tomlin said. "Really, the decision is clear for us. ... I thought he provided us a spark in-game [against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday]. I'm hopeful that he's capable of continuing to provide that spark as we step into this stadium."

Hodges, an undrafted rookie out of Samford, replaced starter Mason Rudolph early in the second half in the Steelers' 16-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. On his third play under center, Hodges threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to receiver James Washington.

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Hodges later directed two more scoring drives for the Steelers to seal the win. Tomlin said the young quarterback's performance earned him another chance to lead the team's offense.

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"I thought the quarterback position by virtue, by nature of the job, it's an opportunity to provide that spark," Tomlin said. "And he made a play there early on, I thought was significant and energized not only our offensive unit, but our team and our sideline. It was enough for us to get out of that stadium. We'll see what this week holds."

Hodges previously filled in for one game after Rudolph sustained a concussion against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 6. He made his first start this season in a 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 13.

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In five games since returning from his concussion, Rudolph has completed 99-of-169 passes (58.6 percent) for 990 yards, five passing touchdowns and seven interceptions, including a four-pick performance in the Steelers' Week 11 loss to the Browns.

"It means nothing about our intended plans for the foreseeable future or the trajectory of Mason's career," Tomlin said about his decision to go with Hodges. "We're just not of that mentality. We're not in a position to be of that mentality. We're putting pieces together on a week-by-week basis because of the adversity that the game presents."

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The Steelers will host the Browns on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST at Heinz Field.

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