Sunday, August 14, 2011

DC Downgrade: Steelers Lose


After 6 long months of waiting, football is finally back.

The Steelers win the toss, but it doesn't really matter because with kickoffs at the 35 now, pretty much every kickoff is a touchback.

The starters come out and look sharp with Ben hooking up with Antonio Brown for to get close to midfield. The drive stalls out after Ben can't hit Wallace who has a step on the corner over the top. I think that's the first time I've ever seen Wallace overthrown. Ben gets sacked on 3rd down but Superman makes his glorious return to the lineup by booming a 61-yard punt to pin the Redskins back at their 1.

Rex Grossman comes out firing with play-action passes, picking apart the Steelers defense and moving down the field. Tim Hightower looked pretty good running the ball behind the Skins new offensive line which seemed like they could get away with unlimited amounts of holding. Penn State alum Evan Royster saw some time with the Redskins first team unit and got a few carries. Ike Taylor broke his thumb somewhere in there, but he'll have a month to rehab it before the regular season starts. The Redskins get all the way down inside the 10, but the Steelers defense holds and the Skins send out former Bengal Shayne Graham to kick a chip shot field goal that isn't even close.

Leftwich comes in to replace Ben and, what do you know, throws a WR screen on the first play. Definitely my least favorite play in Arians playbook, and we use it all the time. Gah. Redman pounds out some yards while Pomp reminds us 30 times that Ford sponsored this quarter. Sepulveda rocks another punt after another 3rd down sack.

Tomlin sent the first team defense back out to rectify their gouging on the first drive.

Second Quarter

The defense looks to lock it down, but the Redskins opt to go for it on 4th and 1, picking it up on a quick curl route. Rex goes deep for DUI Stallworth but throws it out of bounds. The defense locks it down when Ryan Mundy lays the lumber on some receiver running down the seam to knock the ball out. Timmons and Mundy were both down after the play. Mundy would return the next drive.

The Steelers go vanilla with Mewelde Moore in the game but gets stoned on a 3rd and short when David Johnson blows a block on 1st round pick Ryan Kerrigan. Sepulveda crushes another one.

We get a look at the future of the D-line with Ziggy and Cam Heyward in the game, but the Steelers backup corners are no match for the Redskins starting WRs, enabling the Skins to move down the field. Crezdon Butler gets picked on by Grossman, and the Skins move their way down into the red zone and eventually cash in when Grossman finds Santana Moss at the goal line.


The Steelers come out gunslinging with Lord Byron ripping one to Fast Money Antonio Brown on a deep post in between the corner and safety. A roughing the passer penalty puts us on the edge of the red zone, and Isaac Redman just takes over. Redman takes an inside run, pulls a Mendenhall-esque spin move in the hole, bounces to the outside and just outruns the whole Redskins defense to the end zone. Man, he just refuses to be denied. Hell of a block by Antonio Brown to seal the corner.

Suisham gets booed by the Washington crowd as he drills the extra point.


Suisham can't quite get the kickoff out the back of the end zone, and Brandon Banks decides to bring it out from 9 yards deep, breaking through a hole and juking Suisham out of his cleats before being brought down by Da'mon Cromartie-Smith across midfield. The Skins offense didn't do anything as Stevenson Sylvester gets pressure from the OLB spot. Sylvester, who was billed as an ILB when he was drafted, has looked great playing OLB this year in camp.

Leftwich starts marching the offense down the field, capitalizing on a pass interference penalty and hitting Arnaz Battle on the sideline to move the sticks. The drive stalls out across midfield as Moore can't hang on to a 3rd down pass.

The Redskins 2-minute offense gets some work and is able to move into long field goal range with short passes to Santana Moss. Shayne Graham is still a joke and misses to the right.


My son turned 4 months old today. He already knows how to hold a terrible towel.

Antonio Brown had a great first half. Dude was all over the field.

Third Quarter

Former Jet Kellen Clemens who led the 2007 Jets (who finished the season 4-12) to an overtime victory over the Steelers because Arians couldn't figure out how to run the ball effectively against the 29th ranked run defense, came out at QB for the Skins and did nothing.

Homestead Charlie comes in to run the motif offense, resulting in a Kapinos punt that the Redskins muff inside their 5 but recover. Evan Royster shoulders the load, carrying the Skins down the field. Cam Heyward made some really nice plays and started getting into the rhythm of the game, getting penetration on run and pass plays. Stevenson Sylvester busts through on a blitz, forcing a bad pass and a Redskins field goal that Graham Gano makes. Shayne Graham isn't making the team.


Allegheny grad (Go Gators!) Jeff Verszyla dominates the next segment with an interview of Hines Ward. Arnaz Battle catches a case of the Sweeds and lets the ball bounce off his chest on 3rd down, forcing a punt.

Fourth Quarter

Clemens goes back to the air against the Steelers defense. Ryan Mundy is all over the field, seemingly involved in every tackle, playing like a man possessed. Apparently it's legal to just spike the ball at the feet of a blocking back when you're in the pocket and the back is engaged in blocking. Okay, I guess that's not grounding by the letter of the law, but it certainly looks a lot like grounding. Gano makes another field goal.


Dennis Dixon comes in, and like both Ben and Byron before him, gets sacked on 3rd down on his first series.

The teams trade 3-and-outs. The most exciting thing that happens is Pomp talking about Baron Batch's blog. Yeah, those of us who have blogs/twitter have been talking about it since he was drafted in April. Somewhere in there, amidst all the corporate sponsorship plugs, the Redskins drive down into the red zone and Gano makes another kick. Graham was 0/2 and Gano was 3/3...I think the Redskins kicking competition is over.


Edmund Nelson realizes he can draw things on the screen. He draws a square and an arrow. Yes, this was really all that was going on...preseason games really are this boring. Arnaz Battle drops his 30th pass of the game. If Dennis Dixon wanted to be a starter elsewhere in the league, he really didn't look like a starter at all tonight. Dixon makes a Roethlisberger-esque play rolling out of the pocket and completing a pass downfield for a first down to get the Steelers inside the 40 with a minute and a half to go. Dixon can't complete anything else and the Steelers stall out on 4 downs.

Players of the Game:
Offensive Game Ball: Antonio Brown
Defensive Game Ball: Stevenson Sylvester

Honorable Mentions:
Cameron Heyward
Isaac Redman
Ryan Mundy
Donovan Warren
Daniel Sepulveda

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game


This is the worst-case scenario for a team in preseason. Ike Taylor broke his finger, Ryan Clark got a stinger, and Lawrence Timmons was down after a play. Taylor's injury is probably the most significant, but he'll have plenty of time to heal before September 11 in Baltimore.

Final Thoughts
  • Ryan Mundy was all over the place tonight. Great support in the run game and he did a good job making tackles in space downfield.
  • Cameron Heyward is going to be great. He showed some flashes tonight, just wait until he learns the system. Cam and Ziggy are going to be unreal.
  • Great game by Antonio Brown. He's playing his way into more playing time. Impressive performance all night by Fast Money.
  • For how many passes Battle dropped tonight, you can't blame the Steelers for signing Jerricho Cotchery. Battle might not make the team if he keeps playing like this.
  • For a down-the-depth chart guy, CB Donovan Warren looked pretty good. He was actually one of the most impressive guys in the secondary. Close coverage and good tackling.
  • Sepulveda, oh how we missed thee.
  • Thank goodness we only have to listen to the KDKA broadcasts in the preseason, that was just painful.

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