Rudolph has been a team-favorite for years, but has never lived up to his Gronk-like hype he got during the early years of his career when he had nine touchdowns during his sophomore season in 2012. Since then, the Notre Dame product has only eclipsed 500 yards in a season twice and outside of an extremely productive 2016 season (83 catches, 840 yards, 7 TD), he just hasn’t been the game-changer that some had hoped.
Prior to last week’s performance (seven catches, 63 yards) against the Green Bay Packers, Rudolph had been getting five or more targets in seven of 10 games this season, but was more of a check down option with no more than 50 yards in just one of those 10 games (that also comes in a seven-catch, 72 yard game against the Packers).
Perhaps the most disappointing stat is that Rudolph has just two touchdowns on the season and hasn’t seen the end zone since garbage time in a 27-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 3.
If there is anything positive here, it could be that Rudolph has crushed it in the month of December. Fueled by corny puns revolving around a certain red-nosed reindeer, he has nine touchdowns in the month of December. For a guy that was billed as “throwing into a mattress” during OTAs, getting Rudolph’s red zone mojo going could be a big help.