'This is my job'

The throw-away incompletion on third down just inside the two-minute warning stopped the clock and that's not what the Steelers wanted right about then, and Devlin "Duck" Hodges knew as much.

But it happened, anyway.

"As soon as I threw it I kinda said some stuff in my mind that I probably can't repeat," Hodges acknowledged after practice today.

His fourth quarter last Sunday had also included an improvised fumble on a designed run Hodges had regretted in the immediate aftermath of the Steelers' 20-13 victory over the Browns.

"I was trying to throw it away, probably not the smartest play I had," he assessed then.

Head coach Mike Tomlin was appreciative of Hodges' efforts during his second NFL start but also well aware the Steelers' new starter at quarterback is far from a finished product.

"Man, there's so many areas that we need to work with Devlin on," Tomlin said this week.

The preparation continues for this Sunday's game at Arizona.

One thing Hodges said he won't have to work on is maintaining perspective amid the "Duck-mania" Steelers fans have embraced ever since Hodges replaced Mason Rudolph under center.

Hodges said he's noticed but isn't concerned about the attention and adulation becoming overwhelming.

"It's cool, it's unique and it's something I can kinda sit back and laugh about," he said. "It just goes back to being who I am, being the person I am. I'm a laid-back guy. I like to come in each and every day, be prepared and have fun.

"This is football. This is my job. At the same time there's a good balance you can have with having fun and getting prepared and ready for the game."

Hodges completed 14 of 21 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Browns. He's hit on 67.2 percent of his attempts overall (41-for-61), for 530 yards, with three TDs, two interceptions and a passer rating of 97.0.

He's also 2-0 as a starter, rallied the Steelers to victory on Nov. 24 at Cincinnati and directed a pair of second-half drives that produced leads on Oct. 6 against Baltimore.

So the job has been getting done around the occasional rough spot.

Hodges intends to keep doing it in the manner he maintains he always has.

"Whenever a play is called I'm going to be who I am," he said. "I'm going to be aggressive.

"I know there are certain times you have to be smart with the football but I'm a gunslinger, I've always been a gunslinger and that's just what I'm gonna do."

The Cardinals game will match Hodges against Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray, the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick in 2019.

It'll be the second consecutive such showdown for Hodges after facing off against 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield of Cleveland last Sunday.

"I'm motivated by guys in this locker room," Hodges said. "I want to do whatever it takes to win the game. I don't ever want to compare myself to anybody else because I am who I am.

"I gotta worry about me and this team and what we can do."

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