Backup leads Steelers to win
Hodges, Pittsburgh prevail in tame rematch to fight night
PITTSBURGH – No fighting. No helmet swinging. Barely any trash talking. Just football.
And one very loud statement from the banged-up Pittsburgh Steelers written not on a T-shirt but all over the Heinz Field turf: The faces may change when Cleveland visits Pittsburgh. The result does not.
Undrafted rookie free agent Devlin “Duck” Hodges threw for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception, fellow rookie
Benny Snell ran for 63 yards and a score and the largely anonymous Steelers (7-5) surged past the Browns, 20-13, on Sunday. The hosts exacted a measure of revenge for its ugly, brawl-marred defeat in Cleveland two weeks ago by keeping the Browns (5-7) winless in Pittsburgh for 16 years and counting.
“It’s been a weird year,” Steelers guard David DeCastro said.
Yet the Steelers remain in the middle of the playoff chase after rallying from 10 points down thanks in large part to Hodges, a champion duck caller in his down time now 2-0 as starter. Bumped to the top of the depth chart last week in place of struggling Mason Rudolph, Hodges completed 14 of 21 passes and hardly played like a guy cut at the end of training camp.
“I’ve always believed in myself,” Hodges said. “I know I have people in my corner who believed in me. Even the guys on the team, when I was let go, I had a bunch of them text me and say,H`ey, this isn’t over for you.“’
It might be for the Browns (5-7), who saw their three-game winning streak come to a crashing halt. They were outplayed over the final three quarters by a Steelers team riddled with injury and inexperience at the offensive skill positions. Cleveland likely now needs to win out and get some help to reach the playoffs.
“No one is coming to save us,” Cleveland defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. “It’s too late in the season for that. We’re all we got.”