Monday Night Football is a stand-alone, national broadcast that everyone watches. Even on a night with two 0-3 teams, eyeballs will be on television screens, and especially on second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph.
That’s a lot for any NFL player. But when you’re part of the mix that is a storied franchise like the Pittsburgh Steelers, at home against a division rival in the Cincinnati Bengals, it can be a lot for a young player not used to that spotlight.
It will be hard to measure up, especially when you have a veteran quarterback on the other side of the field who has been on that stage and has had success. Make no bones about it, on Monday night, Andy Dalton is the better quarterback on the field. He has greater experience, and against Rudolph, he’s the player who can make the bigger plays if need be.
Worth noting, is that seemed the case in Weeks 2 and 3. Against San Francisco, the assumption was (and incorrectly) that he was the better QB than Jimmy Garopplo. Same when factoring Bills QB Josh Allen. Numbers aside, Dalton matched up well, but a late touchdown by Buffalo and an early blowout against the 49ers doomed a good offensive performance.
MNF is a tough stage to win a football game. When you’re a second-year player starting your second game. It’s tougher. Rudolph finds out how tough Monday night.