The Steelers, losers of three straight games, are turning to quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Though coach Mike Tomlin stopped short of definitively naming Rudolph the starter for Saturday’s pivotal division game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he said Rudolph “is the guy with the ball.”

Tomlin also added he’s not ruling out quarterback Kenny Pickett, who had “TightRope” surgery for a high ankle sprain on Dec. 4, for Saturday’s game.

Just a week earlier, Tomlin deflected the idea of Rudolph getting an opportunity to start, saying the environment wasn’t appropriate to “open up competition” for the starting quarterback job because Rudolph “hadn’t had a lot of exposure in terms of in-helmet prep.”

But Tomlin changed his tune Monday after Mitch Trubisky threw two interceptions and the offense put up a season-low 216 yards in the 30-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Trubisky, who was signed to an extension in the offseason, was benched for Rudolph after throwing his second interception with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Rudolph played six snaps of garbage time, completing 2 of 3 attempts for 3 yards.

What’s been transpiring is the Steelers’ playoff chances evaporating with three consecutive losses. In those losses, the Steelers are averaging 13.7 points per game. Since firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada following the 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, the Steelers have scored more than 16 points just once — 18 in the loss to the New England Patriots in Week 14.

In two games with Trubisky starting in place of Pickett, the Steelers are averaging 240 yards of offense, a decline from their season average of 287.1, which ranks 27th in the NFL. Trubisky has thrown three interceptions to two touchdowns in his starts this season and has a QBR of 33.4, second worst of his career behind 33.3 in his rookie season with the Chicago Bears. By comparison, Pickett’s QBR is 38.2, ranking 25th among 29 qualified quarterbacks.

Rudolph, who didn’t see any game action in 2022, got his last start in a tie against the Detroit Lions in Week 10 of the 2021 season when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was placed on the COVID-19 list the night before the game.

Rudolph completed 30 of 50 attempts for 242 yards and had one touchdown and one interception. He also attempted eight passes in garbage time to conclude the 36-10 Week 16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that season.

Rudolph got the bulk of his experience in 2019 following Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury. Splitting time with fellow backup Devlin “Duck” Hodges, Rudolph started eight games that season and completed 62.2% of his attempts for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions.