SportsPulse: Week 5 had some shocking results. Trysta Krick reacts to all the biggest games and moments from a wild weekend in the NFL.
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s reaction said it all.
With Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph motionless on the Heinz Field turf, all the wideout could do was drop to his knees and try and comfort his teammate.
The rest of the Steelers were left with a similar helpless feeling. Not too long ago, they feared for Ryan Shazier’s ability to walk again when he was carted off the field and doctors initially anticipated paralysis.
Luckily for Rudolph, who suffered a concussion, the second-year player was able to rest at home Sunday night after he took a helmet-to-helmet shot from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas in the third quarter of an eventual 26-23 overtime loss.
“His eyes were open and he was breathing, but he wasn’t there,” said offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, who immediately signaled to the Steelers bench for medical attention, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He wasn’t moving. I knew it was a medical emergency.”
Rudolph, 24, walked off the field under the assistance of teammates and trainers, but the moments he spent on the ground were agonizing for offensive lineman David DeCastro.
“You’re just waiting, waiting, waiting for him to get up,” DeCastro told the Post-Gazette. “It took a little longer than I expected. The seconds turn into minutes and the minutes turn into longer. Your stomach just drops. You feel sick.”
Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree didn’t see the hit, but said Rudolph looked “lifeless” on the ground.
“We love Mason. I know I love Mason,” he told the Post-Gazette. “We’re real close. When stuff like that happens, it makes a trigger go off in your brain. You’ve got to control yourself.”
Thomas defended his actions on the hit, as did Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who told reporters after the game he was “absolutely certain” there was no intent on the safety’s part.