The Pittsburgh Steelers are turning to Mitch Trubisky at quarterback against the Carolina Panthers with rookie Kenny Pickett out due to a concussion. Trubisky and Mason Rudolph split reps with the first-team offense in practice this week, but head coach Mike Tomlin is rolling with his original starter.
Trubisky started the first four games of the season, but was benched for Pickett in Week 5. In his four starts, the former No. 2 overall pick completed 59.48 percent of his passes for 653 yards (163.2 yards per game), two touchdowns and two interceptions. Trubisky replaced Pickett last week against the Baltimore Ravens after the rookie suffered his concussion. Trubisky completed 22-of-30 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown, but also threw three interceptions — two of which were in the red zone.
Rudolph, Trubisky’s backup, has been a healthy scratch in every game this season. The former third-round pick out of Oklahoma State has been with the Steelers organization his entire career, and has gone 5-4-1 as the starter. His last start came in Week 10 last season, when he tied the Detroit Lions in Pittsburgh, 16-16. Rudolph completed 30-of-50 passes for 242 yards, one touchdown and one interception in that matchup.
The 5-8 Panthers have won two straight games ever since Sam Darnold was reintroduced to the starting lineup, and they are just one game behind the 6-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina’s playoff hopes are very much alive, and Brian Burns‘ defense will be looking to make Trubisky uncomfortable in the pocket on Sunday.