View Full Version : Steelers make it look easy in win

10-28-2012, 10:02 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers watched opponents panic when preparing for Robert Griffin III and vowed not to suffer the same identity crisis

''We didn't want to get too creative,'' defensive end Brett Keisel said. ''We just wanted to play the way we know how.''

Besides, why mess with a good thing?

Wearing throwback jerseys that made them resemble hulking bumblebees, the Steelers swarmed Washington's precocious star in a 27-12 victory on Sunday.

Griffin completed just 16 of 34 passes for 177 yards and a score while managing 8 yards rushing, finding little room to showcase his brilliance against a unit used to having its way when a youngster is calling plays in the other huddle

The Steelers (4-3) improved to 14-1 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004, doing to Griffin what they've done to the likes of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco.

''It is very frustrating,'' Griffin said. ''You want to go out, be successful, execute plays and have everything work for you and then when you have a day like today when you have almost nothing work for you.''

Griffin got little help from his receivers. The Redskins (3-5) dropped 10 passes and the Steelers kept the NFL's top rushing team under wraps despite playing without injured safety Troy Polamalu.

Washington ran for a season-low 86 yards while Griffin's longest run came on a seven-yard sprint in the first quarter.

''He wasn't running all over the place,'' Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote said. ''The front seven got challenged by (Steelers coach) Mike (Tomlin) all week and they delivered.''

Ben Roethlisberger had no such issues against Washington's depleted defense, throwing for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Steelers won consecutive games for the first time this season.

''It's fun having so many weapons and being able to throw to anybody,'' said Roethlisberger, who spread 24 completions to nine different receivers.

Jonathan Dwyer added 107 yards rushing in his second NFL start while Heath Miller caught four passes for 46 yards and his sixth touchdown of the season. Pittsburgh scored on its first four possessions to take control early and had little trouble moving above .500.

Suddenly, the team that looked sluggish during early losses to Oakland and Tennessee appears to be its normal, dangerous self in a wide-open AFC.

''This is our story and we're writing it,'' Foote said.

Something Griffin is trying to do in the nation's capital. The second overall pick in last April's draft has taken the league by storm, his dazzling playmaking turning the moribund Redskins into one of the league's more compelling teams.

It all came to a crashing halt on a wet, raw day at Heinz Field.

Washington did its best to create space for Griffin, at one point sending him out as a wide receiver. He sprinted down the sideline but was flagged for pass interference while trying to grab Josh Morgan's wobbly pass, another mistake by the Redskins on an afternoon full of them

''I guess it was just a bad day for us,'' Washington wide receiver Leonard Hankerson said. ''We didn't make those plays.''

Even a pregame surprise from veteran linebacker London Fletcher didn't help. Fletcher overcame head and hamstring issues to play in his 232nd consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NFL. His presence, however, did little to buoy Washington's floundering defense against the balanced Steelers.

Roethlisberger continued to thrive in new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's system while Dwyer, starting in place of injured Rashard Mendenhall, became the first Steelers running back to top 100 yards in consecutive games in four years.

Nicknamed ''the minivan'' by former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, Dwyer ripped off a series of runs through gaping holes that kept the Redskins off-balance.

''I was just going off of how (the offensive line) was playing,'' Dwyer said. ''They were playing physical so I brought my physicality to the game as well.''

Pittsburgh wasted little time putting the pressure on, racing to a 20-6 halftime lead. Each drive seemed to follow the same pattern. Dwyer would soften up the middle of the Washington defense by bulling up the gut and Roethlisberger would spread the ball to anyone willing to catch it.

He hit little-used Leonard Pope for his first touchdown of the game and found Miller for a 7-yard score. When Roethlisberger flipped the ball to Will Johnson from a yard out midway through the third quarter to make it 27-9, the Steelers were in complete command.

Washington mustered little the rest of the way and eventually lost its composure.

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Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was ejected in the fourth quarter after getting in the face of an official, and Griffin ended the day with a simple kneel down on the Redskins' last possession, eager to get out of the rain and away from the worst performance of his short career.

''We lost the game, that's all that matter,'' Griffin said. ''You're judged by wins and losses. I feel as bad as anyone else in that locker room right now.''

NOTES: Washington TE Chris Cooley, re-signed by the team last week after Fred Davis was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, played sporadically. He did not catch a pass but was targeted once by Griffin ... The Steelers improved to 400-253-2 since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the most by any NFL franchise during that span ... Pittsburgh S Ryan Clark left in the third quarter with a concussion and did not return

10-28-2012, 11:35 PM
Steelers get 400th win since 1970 merger by beating Redskins, 27-12



The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 8 meeting with the Washington Redskins at Heinz Field ready to make a statement. By taming rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III of Washington, the Steelers were able to control four quarters of football and secure their 400th win since the merger, in 1970, between the American Football League and the National Football League. Dick LeBeau is now 14-1 against rookie quarterbacks since becoming the head defensive coach in Pittsburgh, and Ben Roethlisberger advances to the same rating against NFC teams since his start in 2004.

In a major victory, the Steelers defense kept hearing "contain" from the sidelines, and they were able to hold Griffin III to 177 yards passing. Griffin completed less than half of his passes, going 16 of 34 for one score and just 10 yards rushing. The Steelers didn't bite on the pistol offense and managed to keep Griffin III scrambling to find open receivers.

Roethlisberger had few problems with the Washington defense. He was able to complete 24 of 33 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns with only one sack. In the first quarter he found tight end Leonard Pope for a touchdown pass that was Pope's first in his NFL career. Roethlisberger was able to find tight end Heath Miller, who had four catches for 46 yards on the day, open in the end zone during the second quarter to put the Steelers up by 17-6. It was Miller's sixth touchdown pass of the 2012 season.

Shaun Suisham had two field goals in the first half for 6 points and made both PATs. For the game, Suisham scored a total of nine points - a perfect game for the kicker who suffered from a sore ankle going into the game.

In their second consecutive win of the season, the Steelers looked as if they'd brushed off the dust of the past games and put on the jerseys of their regular play. Wearing the 'throwback' jerseys introduced for the first time in celebration of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 80th season, the Steelers looked great. If the 'clothes make the man', the Steelers certainly showed it by dominating in nearly every aspect of the game against Washington.

Running back Jonathan Dwyer had his second 100-plus rushing game of his career and became the first Steelers rusher to do so since the days of 'Fast' Willie Parker. All total, Dwyer had 107 yards rushing in only his second NFL start.

Three Steelers receivers had very productive games. Mike Wallace led the team with seven receptions for 62 yards. Antonio Brown added four receptions for 38 yards. And the 'young money' teammate, Emmanuel Sanders recorded three receptions for 56 yards. The Steelers had 215 net yards passing.

Adding another exciting moment, fullback Will Johnson had his first career touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Roethlisberger.

The Steelers' defensive leader against Washington was linebacker Larry Foote who logged 6 tackles and a big sack against Griffin III in the second half of the game. Foote was aided by tough play by his fellow linebackers and the defensive front who had a combined 22 tackles. James Harrison was hungry for a sack, and although he didn't get one, he was effective in disrupting the Redskins offense for most of the game. Keenan Lewis had a good game, nearly intercepting a pass before it was ruled an incomplete pass.

In a great defensive stand, the Steelers were also able to block a Forbath PAT after a scoring drive by the Redskins in the second quarter. Showing strength, the Steelers kept Alfred Morris and Josh Morgan out of the end zone. Ike Taylor knock a pass down that was intended for Santana Moss that forced the Redskins into a third-and-five situation that forced Griffin III to try to run the ball himself. Stopped short by Keenan Lewis and Ziggy Hood, Griffin III then went back to Moss for the Redskins' only touchdown of the game.

The Steelers move to 4-3 on the season looking to move in on the Baltimore Ravens' AFC North lead. The Steelers will face the New York Giants in an away game on November 4, 2012

10-28-2012, 11:49 PM

Steelers beat Redskins 27-12October 28, 2012

By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Robert Griffin III showed he could do just about anything but prevent a hurricane in Washington. Sunday, the Steelers defense showed he could do something else: Be human.

Griffin made his first appearance at Heinz Field as the NFL's sixth-leading rusher and having completed 70 percent of his passes. Against the Steelers, he completed under 50 percent, ran for just eight yards and found himself another rookie victim of Dick LeBeau's defense.

The Steelers scored on their first four drives and held off Griffin and the NFL's top rushing attack to win their second straight game for the first time this season, 27-12.

"He's a great athlete," said defensive end Brett Keisel, who blew up a fourth-quarter pass reception for a seven-yard loss after the Redskins reached the Steelers 17 in a drive that failed. It ended any thoughts of a Washington comeback.

"We knew he was. We knew in order to be successful we'd have to have guys on him on every snap, keep him in the pocket. I think for the most part, we did a pretty good job."

They did that all across the board. Ben Roethlisberger ran his home record to 15-1 against NFC teams by completing 24 of 33 for 222 yards and three touchdowns -- seven yards to Heath Miller, his sixth of the season, and one-yard scoring passes to Leonard Pope and Will Johnson, their first.

Jonathan Dwyer ran for 107 yards to become the first back in four years to top 100 in two consecutive games.

"Any time you can mix it up and be balanced," said Roethlisberger, who completed passes to nine receivers, topped by Mike Wallace's seven. "That's what we've always said we wanted to be, a balanced offense. I feel like we are that right now."

Roethlisberger guided his offense to scores on its first four drives, two touchdowns and two Shaun Suisham field goals. They led 10-0 after the first quarter, 20-6 at halftime and 27-9 in the fourth quarter before the Redskins (3-5) scored and threatened to make it closer.

That's when Keisel turned a short Griffin pass to tight end Logan Paulsen into a 7-yard loss back to the 24. Two incomplete passes ended that threat and pretty much the ballgame with 4:11 to go.

Griffin completed just 16 of his 34 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown, a 2-yarder to Santana Moss on fourth down in the second quarter. He became the 14th rookie quarterback to lose to the Steelers in the 15 games they played rookie starters since LeBeau returned as their defensive coordinator in 2004. Larry Foote had the only sack of Griffin. Neither team had a turnover.

"I thought we did a nice job," coach Mike Tomlin said after finding his team in the black for the first time at 4-3. "We weren't perfect. They test you, really."

Griffin's receivers largely failed their tests by dropping seven of his passes. The steady rain that fell throughout might have been a factor, although linebacker James Harrison suggested something else at work.

"Some may be rain, and you can look and see when a guy is trying to catch the ball and moves his head around sometimes just to see who's there. When guys are flying around and hitting people, you're going to have that."

Rookie Alfred Morris, who entered the game with the NFC rushing lead, had a few good runs but was held to 59 yards on 13 carries. The Redskins managed just 86 yards rushing.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley promised a more efficient passing offense, more attention paid to the ground game and more use of Heath Miller among other things when he was hired. The running game has come around lately, and the efficiency and Miller have been there all season.

The Steelers three touchdown drives covered 76 yards, 74 yards and 80 yards. They were the No. 1 team in the NFL in time of possession before Sunday and they did not hurt that stature by having the ball nearly 6 1/2 minutes longer than Washington.

"We look to possess the ball," Tomlin declared. "If we convert third downs, we feel like we've got a chance to do that."

The Steelers actually made only four of 11 third downs, but converted one fourth down into Pope's touchdown, only his second catch since joining the Steelers as a free agent this year. It capped the day's first drive and staked them to a 7-0 lead.

"We have faith that we can get it in," Roethlsiberger said of the fourth-down play. "It was a good play call and good execution."

The Steelers third and final touchdown may have traveled just one yard also, to fullback Will Johnson, but it too came after a big third-down play. They had three yards to go with the ball on the 21. Roethlisberger lined up in the shotgun with rookie Chris Rainey to his left. The snap went to Rainey, who scooted around right end for a 19-yard pickup to the two.

Johnson was wide open on the right two plays later in the end zone.

"I was kind of yelling 'turn around, you're open,' " Roethlisberger said of Johnson, the fullback from West Virginia who went undrafted and unwanted by any team as a rookie in 2011 but signed with the Steelers the past spring.

"It's so much fun having so many weapons and playing as a whole team."

It may not be as much fun next week. The Steelers play the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants on the road.

"It feels good," Foote said of a second consecutive victory. "I wish we could celebrate it but we know we have the world champs a week from now at their place. I'm excited. We'll see what we're made of."

First Published October 28, 2012

10-29-2012, 04:37 PM
Labriola on win over Redskins

by Bob Labriola
Steelers Digest

It would be easy to be seduced by what happened last Sunday at Heinz Field, just as it was easy to despair over what went on in Oakland and then in Nashville over a three-week period about a month ago. An NFL season can have more ups and downs than a roller coaster for a team’s fans, but at least it seems as though the Steelers are ready to get off the ride.

Thanks to their 27-12 victory over the Washington Redskins last Sunday at Heinz Field, the Steelers have pulled themselves over .500 for the first time this season, but even more significantly there has been a consistency of performance developing that’s as significant as the wins they have begun to stack.

The contention that the Steelers have disembarked the roller coaster should not be assumed to mean their performances now will take on a steady ascending arc, because they very well could lose this Sunday to the New York Giants. And maybe even look bad doing it.

But nobody gets through an NFL season unscathed anymore, particularly not the high profile teams with the high profile players. It has happened to everybody during these initial wacky weekends where, just to cite one example, the Miami Dolphins are nipping at the heels of the New England Patriots for first place in the AFC East. Were you watching “Hard Knocks?” Those Dolphins are one-half game behind Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Explain that.

It can be explained simply by accepting that what happens in the NFL often is inexplicable, and only then do things begin to come into focus.

The 2012 Steelers are flawed, and making a list of those should be a simple matter for anyone who has been paying even marginal attention since Labor Day. But it has taken the last fortnight for some of their qualities to blossom and become something more than a rumor. Something substantial they should be able to use as the basis for a run at the championship of the AFC North, and then after that, who knows.

The Steelers still have issues, and those issues can cost them any of the remaining games on their schedule, but what has happened of late is that they have learned they are capable of compensating with other players or with other facets of their game, and they are capable of compensating sufficiently to start stacking some wins.

What has happened over the past fortnight is the Steelers have stayed relevant in both their division and their conference through a very rough patch for them that included a slew of injuries to some key players at same stage of development when individuals are working to come together as offensive and defensive units. Now they are one-game behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North and tied in the loss column with the teams currently atop the AFC East and AFC West.

The Steelers are 4-3 and they have learned how to deal with their own foibles, inadequacies, and a bunch of injuries. There’s still half a season left, and their injured continue to heal. A lot of football left, so buckle up. Should be a heckuva ride to the finish line.