1:00 PM ET, October 28, 2012
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
"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 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.
"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 7-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.
RG3 Runs Into Steel Wall
Robert Griffin III did it all for the Redskins through the first seven games of his NFL career. But against the Steelers on Sunday, the prized roookie's success was halted by Pittsburgh's defense. Here's a look:
|1st 7 Games||Sun.|
|*- Led NFL|
-- ESPN Stats & Information
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."
SportsNation: NFL Week 8
What did you make of the big-time storylines in Week 8 of the NFL's regular season?
Cast your votes!
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.
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.
Hall said he requested a meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the incident, which drew a pair of 15-yard penalties.
"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."
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.
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass during warmups prior...(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||4.5||5.8|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-0||0-0|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||8:02||Leonard Pope 1 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 76 yds, 7:05
|FG||2:54||Shaun Suisham 48 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 5 plays, 42 yds, 2:59
|TD||11:38||Santana Moss 2 Yard Pass From Robert Griffin (Kai Forbath Kick is No Good)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 80 yds, 6:16
|TD||6:24||Heath Miller 7 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yds, 5:16
|FG||2:00||Shaun Suisham 27 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 6 plays, 46 yds, 2:13
|FG||11:57||Kai Forbath 48 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 7 plays, 49 yds, 3:08
|TD||5:17||Will Johnson 1 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 6:39
|FG||12:11||Kai Forbath 45 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 9 plays, 15 yds, 4:02
Robert Griffin III did not attempt a scramble against the Steelers on Sunday for the first time in his career. Entering the game, Griffin led the NFL in scrambles (24) and scramble yards (289).
The Steelers defended as many passes as Robert Griffin completed (four) on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield Sunday. Griffin completed 4-of-12 passes (33.3 percent) deeper than 10 yards downfield after entering the game with a league-leading 61.5 completion percentage on those throws.[+]
Robert Griffin III Passing More Than 10 Yards Downfield, This Season
Ben Roethlisberger's average pass traveled 4.8 yards downfield Sunday, his lowest average pass distance over the past five seasons. Big Ben was effective on short passes, completing 21-of-28 passes (75.0 percent) thrown 10 yards or fewer downfield, including all three of his touchdowns.
Robert Griffin III completed 57.1 percent of his on-target throws, his worst percentage of the year and fourth-worst percentage for a quarterback in a game this season. Overall, Griffin completed 16-of-34 passes with five drops, six passes defended and one miscommunication on an on-target pass. Entering the game, the Redskins caught 84.2 percent of Washington's on-target passes (seventh in NFL) with 10 total drops (tied for 12th).[+]
Robert Griffin On Target Passes, This Season
The Steelers have now won against the Redskins in 5 straight games, which is tied for the Steelers longest active win streak vs any opponent. The Steelers are averaging 12.6 points more than the Redskins in the last 5 matchups, which is the 2nd-largest PPG differential vs teams that the Steelers have won 5 straight games against.[+]
Longest Active Win Streaks - Steelers by Opponent
ESPN Stats & Information
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free agents