The Washington Redskins flew into Pittsburgh having rushed for at least 120 yards in each game this season. The main reasons for that have been Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III who, as a quarterback, was 12th in the NFL in rushing.
Any thoughts of extending that streak ended on Heinz Field Sunday afternoon.
RGIII was turned into RG 3 points at a time as the Pittsburgh Steelers hurried, hit and confused the rookie quarterback phenomenon all day. At times it looked like a jail break (yeah, I went there). They also shut down the fierce run/option attack the Redskins' offense has been predicated on all season. - http://tinyurl.com/9sz3mm7
The Steelers shut down their running game and RGIII himself as he only passed for 177 yards and only had eight yards on six rushes.
Many of the keys to winning the game that we outlined in the article before the came to fruition as the Steelers defense kept RGIII at bay. The Steelers offense, led by quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger, showed more diversity en route to a 27-12 win.
The Steelers had RGIII right where they wanted him all day as he sat back in the pocket and made throws rather than running.
James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote and LaMarr Woodley, who strained his right hamstring, continually harassed RGIII, and Deebo in particular manhandled the tight ends the Redskins kept running at him, continually sealing the edge.
As Merril Hoge posted on his personal Twitter (@merrilhoge) account last week: "No SB QB has ever off set more offensive line issues the Ben and won game and SB! Ben is ELITE!!!!!"
Sunday, Big Ben was the same ol' Ben Roethlisberger. When that's the case, it means the Steelers are always going to have a chance to win. - http://t.co/v6sWApFt
Big Ben distributed passes generously once again, including all three TD passes going to the tight ends and to fullback Will Johnson. - http://tinyurl.com/9e3c5w2
One of those tight ends is the very underrated Heeeaaattthhh Miller, who tied the Steelers all-time record for touchdowns by a tight end (37) with his score Sunday.
Miller made a very poignant statement regarding the Big Ben-led D&D offense: "I think defenses have trouble determining who they want to take away in our passing game."
Very true. Especially when the receivers aren't dropping passes, which was much more in check Sunday. This time it was the Redskins receivers who acted like they heard footsteps all afternoon.
The Steelers went into the game with 11 drops in six games. The Redskins had 10 sunday alone.
The Redskins receivers gave little help to RGIII as they surrendered more balls than Queen concert after-party.
RGIII could easily have had 250 or more yards and another touchdown pass had the receivers done their part. They didn't, though, and it kept the Redskins in play-from-behind mode all day.
Another star in the game Sunday was Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer.
In his press conference last tuesday, Mike Tomlin said that Dwyer is a guy in development. He said of Dwyer that "its good to see him take advantage of opportunities when they are given."
Dwyer did just that again Sunday when he went for 107 yards on 17 carries, the first Steelers running back in more than four years (Fast Willie Parker) with back-to-back 100-yard games. - http://tinyurl.com/8vjhlwd
That smacks at the changeover to a passing team the Steelers have become. Don't think that they don't want to run the ball, though.
The Steelers are 10-0 when they rush for at least 120 yards since the start of the 2011 season, only 6-7 when they rush for less. Point blank, the Steelers are suddenly dangerous with a gelling offense that includes a strong running game. - http://t.co/l6NKHyBX
Now that they seem to have hit their midseason stride, they have a real challenge in front of them as they head into the Meadowlands next Sunday, Hurricane Sandy permitting, to face the New York Giants.
For now, though, the Steelers are enjoying having weathered the storm of RGIII before thinking about EM10.
TIDBITS: Before the Redskins game Sunday, Roethlisberger, Willie Colon, and Max Starks had played every snap this year, with Timmons, Miller and Ryan Clark missing only one.
That is no longer the case with Clark as he went down with a concussion in the second half Sunday. He says he ok and plans to play next, per Jason LaCanfora.
“@JasonLaCanfora: Texting w/Steelers S Ryan Clark, who suffered concussion. Says he feels good, recalls details of the game, including his big hit on RGIII” - from his personal Twitter account.
The right quad tightened up on Dwyer. Tomlin addressed all the injuries,but did not say who will start next week. - http://www.steelers.com/video-and-audio/videos/Mike_Tomlin_Postgame_vs_Redskins/599e96fc-3649-47e2-981c-afc927e8ebe5
Antonio Brown needs to be reined in a little bit. AB running backward is not very smart. What makes him think he won't get flagged in a situation like that? Didn't he learn from the preseason? C'mon, man!
Like Jim Wexell tweeted: "@jimwexell: Two Browns penalized on the same play. First time that's ever happened outside of Cleveland."
And if you're scoring at home, that's 183 yards in returns erased the past two games by six penalties. Like I said last week, "Special Ed Teams."