Week 8: Washington Redskins At Pittsburgh Steelers
- QuarterbackIt’s difficult to overstate just how much Robert Griffin III means to the Washington Redskins at this point. His physical assets have been obvious since the start of training camp and it was also clear that he was a quick study. However, he is at his best in the fourth quarter. The big moments seems to bring out the best in him.Is it possible that Ben Roethlisberger is underrated? Despite owning two Super Bowl rings, he is not ranked with Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. However, when it comes to slipping the pass rush and saving a play, Roethlisberger is solid. He is often at his best when the pressure is highest.
- OffenseThe Redskins know that RGIII can take off and run the ball any time he feels like it. However, they also have a legitimate running game in which they can hand the ball off to powerful Alfred Morris and he can pound the ball between the tackles. Wide receivers Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson are adequate, but don’t be surprised to see the Redskins bring in a pass-catching tight end.The Steelers got a lift from backup running back Jonathan Dwyer who punished the Bengals in Week Seven with 122 rushing yards. Since Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) couldn’t play, Dwyer carried the load. The trio of Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller are more than adequate targets for Roethlisberger.
- DefenseThe Redskins are not going to play shutdown defense for four quarters, but they are going to have their moments. They may not be consistent at this point, but head coach Mike Shanahan knows that his defense will leave it all on the field. Linebacker London Fletcher is like a coach on the field and safety Madieu Williams is opportunistic and will pick off errant throws.The Steelers played their best defensive game at Cincinnati in Week Seven. They got stronger as the game progressed and limited Andy Dalton to 105 passing yards. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was all over the field and he was credited with 11 tackles. Free safety Ryan Clark had seven tackles and can intimidate receivers.
- Special TeamsThe Redskins are much happier with Kai Forbath at kicker than they had been with erratic Billy Cundiff at kicker. Forbath made all three of his FG attempts against the Giants. Sav Rocca is a decent punter who can place the ball inside the 20.The Steelers are getting excellent production from placekicker Shaun Suisham, who made all three of his FG attempts against the Bengals. Drew Butler has a good but not great leg at the punter position. Mike Tomlin is not afraid to let Roethlisberger use the quick kick to change field position.
The Redskins are one of the most exciting teams in the league with RGIII at quarterback and the atmosphere is far better in Washington than it has been in years. However, they could not win on the road against the Giants and they will have a difficult time hanging in against the Steelers on the road.