Steelers vs. Redskins: Final Game Grades and Analysis for Washington
Today's game at Heinz Field was a typical case of one team showing up and the other one staying in the locker room. A very poor outing by the Redskins, capped by an embarrassing DeAngelo Hall meltdown and ejection, has finally come to and end.
The Steelers beat the Redskins today, 27-12.
Stay tuned for the final report card, player grades for the game, and analysis.
You can also follow along on Twitter, @BetBigDC
Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III -- B
Heinz Field may not be an easy place to play. An unsettled pocket certainly effects your game. The rain is never fun when you're passing a football. And ten drops is enough to change the outcome of a game. But all that said, Robert Griffin III didn't have a great game against the Steelers. He did, however, play plenty well enough to win.
Finishing the game 16-of-34 for 177 yards and a touchdown, Griffin was never able to find a rhythm and the offense never established themselves to keep the Steelers defense off-balance.
Although Griffin's completion percentage (47) appears atrocious, it wasn't quite as bad as it looks. He wasn't exactly inaccurate given the circumstances and drops. Griffin also kept his eyes up field despite constant disruption in the pocket.
After last week's performance on the road against the Giants, it's probably most important that Redskins fans keep a level head.
If there's any team that runs the 3-4 defense to perfection—with disguise and creativity—it's the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although the Giants are good and pass-rusher plentiful, the Steelers will be the most intimidating defense Robert Griffin III has faced so far.
It's not that the Steelers blow up the stat sheet (only 11 sacks and three interceptions). It's more about the different looks that Griffin will face, during both pre- and post-snap reads.
Since 2004, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has been stellar against rookie quarterbacks—holding them to an average of 11.4 points per outing, under 53-percent passing and 17 interceptions.
Rookies are just 1-14 against LeBeau in the last eight years.
Alfred Morris -- B
No one should hate on Alfred Morris after his 59-yard performance. Would more yards be better? Of course. But Morris ran well behind what he was given today.
I'm not sure what it takes, but Morris needs to improve as a blocker and perhaps a pass-catcher in order to stay on the field at all times. On this Redskins team, they need as much Alfred Morris as possible.
Evan Royster -- D
Held as the better pass-blocking running back, Evan Royster was a disappointment today. He was blown on at least two assignments and he was ineffective in every other part of the game.
Receivers and Tight Ends
Note: In a game where the Redskins dropped a league-wide season-high TEN passes, it's tough to even look at this wide receiver group.
Josh Morgan -- B
Troubled with a couple drops of his own, Josh Morgan was still one of the brighter pieces of the Redskins performance today. He was the only receiver that seemed to create separation and he demonstrated his threat after the catch.
Morgan's blocking should also not go unnoticed. Although it's not a glamorous part of the position, Morgan commits himself to blocking on the outside and he does a pretty good job.
Morgan finished the game with five catches for 46 yards.
Leonard Hankerson -- C
Ugly game for Hank, today. Amongst dropped passes, Leonard Hankerson also struggled to block and he didn't look like his head was in the game.
Although the Redskins eventually scored on the drive, Hankerson dropped a sure touchdown in the first half that could have made the score even worse for Washington.
Santana Moss -- B
Another decent game for the veteran, as Santana Moss hauled in four passes for 21 yards and the Redskins only touchdown.
Still without Pierre Garcon, Griffin appears to have adjusted to Moss and now uses him as one of the reliable targets in the offense.
Dezmon Briscoe -- C
As much as we want to get excited about his size, Dezmon Briscoe hasn't turned the corner in Washington.
With Garcon out, Briscoe has some opportunities to impress coaches and remind them why he belongs. But the concentration issues that we saw today and lack of speed isn't a good start.
Niles Paul -- B
Improved blocking from previous weeks is an exciting sign from Niles Paul after the Redskins lost starting tight end Fred Davis for the year.
As a converted wide receiver, Paul can obviously catch the ball. But putting everything together to complete the tight end position is what's important.
Paul did pull in the Redskins longest play of the day when he ran a wide crossing pattern and Griffin found him for a 37-yard gain.
Logan Paulsen -- B
After losing Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen has stepped into the starting role and fans have a reason to rest easy.
Although Paulsen doesn't bring the speed of Davis, I would say he's a better blocker that continues to improve and he's a reliable target on offense.
Paulsen finished the game with four catches for 43 yards.
Trent Williams -- B-
Not nearly as effective as we've seen him this season, but Trent Williams maintained a tough assignment today. He had James Harrison coming off the edge and Dick LeBeau's defense is a creative scheme that can keep an offensive line guessing.
Kory Lichtensteiger -- C+
Blown up on a few plays, pushed around a bit, and a bonehead false start didn't bode well for Kory Lichtensteiger's performance today.
Not to be dramatic--and it wasn't easily noticeable--but Lichtensteiger had one of his worst games of the season so far. That said, 'Steiger remains a solid piece.
Will Montgomery -- C
Nothing special out of Will Montgomery today.
I've mentioned Monty's effectiveness in the run game in recent weeks, but the Redskins lack thereof today made it hard to judge the center and his play at the second level.
Chris Chester -- B
Really impressed with Chris Chester and his progression since last season. He looked good today amongst a position that wasn't phenomenal as a unit and he's an angel for protecting the often-ineffective right tackle.
Tyler Polumbus -- C
As a huge critic of Tyler Polumbus, I will admit that he has been a little better in the past couple weeks. But that doesn't mean he's reliable. You saw him struggle against the Steelers with speed on the outside and baiting moves.
Jarvis Jenkins -- B-
As much as people talk down about Jarvis Jenkins and his disappointing play after such encouraging words last season, I continue to see him playing well.
Although he's not Jason Pierre-Paul and his sack numbers won't blow up the stat sheet, it's important to remember the scheme. And the Redskins don't run that type of defense.
Jenkins got his push today and funneled the run game.
Barry Cofield -- C+
I'm a huge fan of Barry Cofield, but he wasn't much of a contributor in today's game. The Steelers started their ground game early and controlled the line of scrimmage.
Stephen Bowen -- B
Like Jenkins, Stephen Bowen got some good push today and helped to contain the edge. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly enough. For a Redskins defense that hung its hat on their run defense, they were victimized against the Steelers.
Perry Riley -- B
Leading the team in tackles today with seven, Perry Riley played like Redskins fans expect. He gets an early jump on play recognition, he fills holes, and he can generally get through blocks on screens and dumps.
Ryan Kerrigan -- A
Not an outstanding stat sheet, but Ryan Kerrigan played a helluva game today.
Although the Redskins can't implement a decent pass rush, Kerrigan remains disruptive and he brings it on every down. His pass deflection today was yet another example of his play recognition and football smarts.
Kerrigan finished the game with three tackles, one sack and the pass deflection.
London Fletcher -- C
I hate to talk bad about London Fletcher--and his health is certainly a serious issue--but he didn't play well at all today. He lacks in coverage and he struggled to get off blocks.
Keenan Robinson -- B-
Nothing great for the rookie today, but it's nice to see Keenan Robinson getting time in this season. And, when you think about it, no one can make the Redskins defense any worse than what it already is.
DeAngelo Hall -- F
After a poor effort all game long, DeAngelo Hall capped off his game with an embarrassing and unnecessary blow-up in which he went after a referee. It happened late in the game when the Redskins didn't have a shot at winning and Hall thought it was good idea to try and get rough with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Josh Wilson -- C
As the team's apparent best cover-corner, Josh Wilson has been unimpressive this season. Against the Steelers, speedsters like Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Mike Wallace was too much for Wilson and the Redskins.
Wilson finished the game with four tackles.
Madieu Williams -- C
Madieu Williams has been inconsistent all season and it was no different against the Steelers. Williams took bad angles, struggled in tackling, and appeared to be out of position.
Some how, some way, he wasn't burnt as bad as last week against the Giants.
Reed Doughty -- C
Today was a classic case of Reed Doughty being Reed Doughty. He may come up to make a tackle in the box, but he won't always execute. And when it comes to coverage, forget about it.
Kai Forbath -- B
The only thing keeping Kai Forbath from a perfect game was a blocked extra point on the Redskins' first touchdown. Although the trajectory appeared low, it ultimately falls on the blocking up front.
Forbath went on to successfully boot a 48- and 43-yarder.
Sav Rocca -- C
Sav Rocca punted four times today. One of those punts was shanked for 12 yards. The Steelers would eventually capitalize.
Needless to say, not a good day for the punter.
Brandon Banks -- B
A quiet, yet very productive game for Brandon Banks today. He stuck with the north-south approach that so many fans yell for and it showed. Banks had a 30-yard kick return and a 27-yarder on this second punt return.
Mike Shanahan -- D
Ineffective clock management at the end of the game in which the Redskins trailed the Steelers by 15 points and the offense took their sweet time putting a drive together.
Why are the Redskins huddling in the fourth quarter when trailing?
Kyle Shanahan -- D
I'm a supporter of Kyle Shanahan, but not today.
The Redskins started the game bland and scripted, they once again struggled on third down, and they couldn't control the clock to save their lives.
But what really put me over the edge was the flea flicker late in the fourth quarter. Are you expecting one of the best coached defenses in the league to bite on a run-fake against a team that's trailing by two scores late in the game? Do you honestly believe that the secondary isn't prepared for shots down field?
Jim Haslett -- D
Another ugly and pitiful outing for the defense. No creativity and the lack of pass rush is all you need to notice it. Or you could look at how clean Ben Roethlisberger's jersey was following the game.
Haslett doesn't have what it takes to run a 3-4, whether it be his style, his players, or the likely combination of both.