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What to Watch For
1. Alfred Morris
Yes, the Redskins offense runs through RGIII and stopping him will be a big key to the game, but part of RGIII's success has been predicated upon the success of the Redskins ground game. Alfred Morris is 3rd in the league in rushing yards to the tune of 94 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. Part of it is Morris' tough running style, but a key factor is also Mike Shanahan's zone blocking scheme (something the Steelers have struggled against in the past). If we can contain Morris, we can make the Redskins offense one-dimensional and force RGIII to make throws in what looks like bad weather conditions.
He is getting more accolades than any rookie quarterback in a long time, and the season isn't even half over yet. Many are calling him the most exciting player in football and he's certainly one of the best athletes on the field any time he straps on a helmet. Unlike other "running" quarterbacks like Michael Vick, RGIII is deadly accurate. He is currently leading the league in completion percentage with an insane 70.4% mark. Only 7 players in NFL history have thrown over 100 passes in a season and completed more than 70%. Griffin could be the 8th. He is a threat to run, but he isn't a "tuck and run" quarterback like Vick, but rather a guy who is always looking to make the throw downfield, but is athletic enough to run when the situation calls for it.
3. The Perfect Storm
No, I'm not talking about the Hurricane and the Arctic Blast that are going to merge in the upcoming days. I'm talking about a red hot Ben Roethlisberger getting to come back home and face the worst passing defense in the league. The Redskins pass defense is just flat out bad. They are last in the league in yards per game, have given up the most receiving touchdowns and the 3rd most points. With all the talk about RGIII this week, you'd better believe that Ben is going to come out with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove.
4. Mike Wallace vs His Hands
Coming into this season, Wallace was a sure-handed receiver and one of the best we'd seen in a long time at tracking a deep ball over his shoulder and making a play on it. That said, he has five drops over the past two games, including four against the Bengals alone. Up to this point, he had never had four drops in an entire season, let alone in one game. Wallace made a big deal over getting a new contract this off-season, and he is treading on thin ice if he can't hold on to the ball. He finished the game last week with 8 catches, but most of those were on short passes. Wallace made a name for himself catching deep balls and if he's not going to catch passes that hit him right in the hands, he's going to have a hard time getting that big contract he wants.
5. Stacking Wins
The Redskins come in at 3-4, and even though they are talented offensively, their porous defense makes them a mediocre team at best. This is the kind of team the Steelers need to separate themselves from. Are they going to mire in mediocrity all year and struggle against other mediocre teams (which is entirely possible considering we already have two losses to bad teams) or are we going to take that next step forward towards playoff contention? Every win counts, and as Mike Tomlin loves to say, "we need to stack wins together."