Hey, so, I guess there's a hurricane coming? I may be stuck in my window-less room in downtown NYC for the next few days, but at least I can relish in the most recent Pittsburgh Steelers win. Even if they did look like incredibly giant, awkward bumblebees in khakis (they were wearing throwbacks from 1934). It's taken weeks, but the Steelers have finally won two games in a row. Sure, the Washington Redskins haven't been a threat in years, but with upcoming star quarterback Robert Griffin III, and the Steelers somewhat ailing defense, this could have been a close one.
Unfortunately for Griffin, he did everything he could to win the game, or at least make it exciting -- but dropped passes really put the nail in the coffin for the Redskins.
There were 10, count 'em, 10 drops by the Redskins, including three by Santana Moss. That actually helped make the Steelers secondary look good. Safety Will Allen helped matters by breaking up three passes, and safety Ryan Clark stepped up as well -- even though he left with a concussion in the third quarter and didn't return. Ack! All these injuries! But the dropped passes definitely made the difference in the game, and the defense really needs to start making turnovers in order to keep this winning streak alive.
Still, it was the first time that Griffin, who led the league with a 70.4 percent completion rate, completed less than half his passes. He completed 16 passes on 34 attempts. It was one of his worst performances all season. And the Steelers improved to 14-1 since 2004 against rookie quarterbacks -- nothing like a group of veterans messing around with the young up-and-comer. There's no denying, however, that Griffin is a talented quarterback. Let's see where he is in the next few years!
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as the cool veteran, was able to put together scoring drives on the first four possessions of the game. They held a commanding lead of 20-6 at halftime. Thank goodness Ben didn't have an interception and even threw for 3 TDs, one on fourth-down-and-1, a decision that was really questionable to me at the time. (Throwing the ball on fourth-and-wtf ...?!? Oh wait, I guess it all worked out ...)
The Steelers running game is even shaping up. And thank goodness. Jonathan Dwyer, who stepped in for injured Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, became the first RB in four years to get two 100-yard games in a row. He went for 107 yards on 17 carries, and the Steelers are actually looking like their old selves again with him at the running helm. By the way, Hines Ward's nickname for Dwyer? "The minivan." Yes, I am going to talk about how much I miss Hines pretty much every week, get used to it. Anyway, I'm also liking rookie Chris Rainey, who had an explosive 19-yard run to help set up a touchdown. So happy to see these guys stepping up!
As far as the receivers, Mike Wallace was able to rack up 7 catches for just 62 yards, no long bombs for him, unfortunately. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and tight end Heath Miller are also helping out Ben when it counts. (Though Brown running backwards into the endzone during a return that didn't even count ... I love the guy, but that was really, really stupid.) (Speaking of Steelers special teams, there was even a blocked extra point! You don't see those every day!) On an even better note, Roethlisberger was not sacked for the second time in the past four games (!!). How come more people aren't paying attention to that? It seems we only care about the O-line when they suck.
Trying not to get my hopes up quite yet, but ...
The defense yet again was able to step up and hold on to a very early lead. They were able to contain rookie running back Alfred Morris, who's the NFC's leading rusher, to 59 yards on 13 carries. Griffin, who's known for being an agile scrambler, only got 8 yards on 6 carries, which is pretty impressive for our "aging" defense. Props to them for containing him. Still looking forward to having Troy Polamalu back, though!
With four early scoring drives, the Redskins defense just couldn't do anything to stop the Steelers. To top it all off, cornerback DeAngelo Hall was ejected in the fourth quarter after ripping his helmet off and yelling at an official. Kind of a symbolic ending to a frustrating day, as Griffin took a knee to end the game and seemed like he couldn't wait to get out of the rain. Don't blame you, dude. Those rainy Pittsburgh days can be pretty awful.
Overall, it was an impressive, solid win for the Steelers who were giving me heart palpitations only a few weeks ago. What a crazy season it's been so far, right? It's going to be quite a contest next week for the Steelers against the New York Giants, who were able to hold on at the last-minute against the Dallas Cowboys. Let's hope the Steelers can carry through with this momentum for the next few weeks, especially when they play the Baltimore Ravens. So, since there's nothing left to do during a hurricane besides drink alcohol, I'll bid you all adieu until next week, as long as the city isn't underwater, and read/watch as much football coverage I can until the power goes out. Stay safe, everyone!