Undrafted rookie QB Devlin Hodges wins first 3 starts for Steelers

GLENDALE, Arizona -- There's plenty about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin "Duck" Hodges that isn't like most other NFL starting quarterbacks.

For one, there aren't any other starting NFL quarterbacks with their own custom duck caller from Duck Commander. And Uncle Si Robertson from "Duck Dynasty" isn't giving pregame shoutouts to any other starting NFL quarterbacks.

Plus, how many have a beer company designing customized "Fowl Towels?"

With Sunday afternoon's 23-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Hodges distinguished himself from the pack yet again when he became the first undrafted rookie NFL quarterback to win his first three starts since Ed Rubbert in 1987 for the Washington Redskins.

"I heard a lot of people talking about it this week, and in my mind, I was like, 'Well, I guess I need to be the first undrafted QB to do that just so we can win this week,'" Hodges said. "My job is to win the game each and every week and that's what I want to do, and that's all I'm worried about."

Only Hodges and Craig Krenzel in 2004 have won two road games in their first three starts as rookies. Hodges completed 16 of 19 attempts for 152 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He also ran five times for 34 yards -- including a 22-yard scramble.

In the fourth quarter, Hodges helped seal the game with a field goal drive during which he threw across his body to connect with receiver Diontae Johnson for a 17-yard gain on third-and-13.

"I trust his judgement," coach Mike Tomlin said. "That's been a part of his game. He did a really good job of managing his emotions in the midst of tough circumstances and being prudent, yet aggressive. We're getting more and more comfortable."

In three starts and two appearances in relief of Mason Rudolph, Hodges has completed 41 of 61 attempts for 530 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Tomlin famously said the quarterback "doesn't kill us" prior to his start against the Cleveland Browns, but in Sunday's game, Hodges did more than that. He began to show the offense could operate beyond just survival mode with plays like his 22-yard scramble -- something that didn't come from a designed run.

"I've been telling y'all since I came in here from OTAs, that's just how he is," running back Benny Snell said. "That's him. He is calm and collected, a playmaker."

Since taking over for Rudolph after halftime of Pittsburgh's Week 12 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Hodges has settled into his role as the team's third starting quarterback of the season, even as he has played without the team's top two offensive playmakers in wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner.

"The confidence and the comfort level just comes with playing a lot and practicing," he said. "Obviously, the more you practice, the more you play, the more comfortable you get."