Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was injured and carried off the field in Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, suffering an apparent concussion and leaving the Steelers even more shorthanded at quarterback.
Rudolph took a big hit from Baltimore’s Earl Thomas midway through the third quarter, leaving him motionless on the turf for a few moments before he was carried off the field. As CBS Pittsburgh reported, Rudolph was taken to a hospital for evaluation after the hit.
The hit took place as Rudolph was attempting to jump and find room to throw over Thomas, who was diving toward Rudolph at the time and appeared to hit Rudolph in the helmet.
It was a frightening moment for the Steelers, as many of Rudolph’s teammates were visibly emotional on the sidelines as he was being evaluated. Rudolph was reportedly diagnosed with a concussion after the play.
Rudolph had completed 13 of 20 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown before being knocked out of the game, helping get the Steelers to a 20-17 lead at the time he left the game. At 1-3, the Steelers were in danger of already falling out of playoff contention, but are now looking at the possibility of being shorthanded for quite some time. With Rudolph reportedly suffering a concussion, he will now be placed into the league-mandated protocol that requires players to clear a series of steps in order to return to play.
The hit comes just one week after Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was also knocked out during a game after taking a hit to the head from New England Patriots defender Jonathan Jones. Allen was attempting to scramble for a first down and lunged headfirst toward the first-down marker, colliding with Jones. While Jones was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play, the NFL did not issue him a suspension or penalty after determining that the contact was incidental and that Jones was not attempting to lead with his helmet. Allen was able to clear concussion protocol on Saturday, and started for the Bills against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Mason Rudolph’s injury had some added complexities, as reports noted that the medical cart normally used to transport players off the field was not functional. That forced Rudolph to walk to the locker room, looking noticeably slow and deliberate as he was helped off the field.
The Steelers are already without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a season-ending elbow injury. The Steelers appeared to be finding a rhythm under Rudolph, who led the team to a 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football last week, earning the game ball and some big praise for the second-year quarterback from head coach Mike Tomlin.
“Can’t say enough about Mason,” Tomlin said, via Steelers Wire. “We gave him a game ball in there for his first start and win. So, I thought that was appropriate.”
Rudolph had to be carried off the field because the medical cart was broken.pic.twitter.com/kRvJOnGvhn
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 6, 2019
With Rudolph out, the Steelers were forced to turn to undrafted rookie Delvin Hodges at quarterback.
Steelers QB Mason Rudolph helped off the field after taking a hit to the head vs. Ravens. Teammates, including JuJu, were very emotional.
Hoping he’s alright ???? pic.twitter.com/sDh1zUOfs8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 6, 2019
The full prognosis is not yet known. The report will be updated as more information is available.