Pittsburgh Steelers

Redskins vs. Steelers: Big Plays by RGIII Won't Be Enough to Pull off Upset Win

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2012

Here are two true statements that really can't be argued against, regardless of where your NFL allegiance lies: Robert Griffin III is a dynamic football player, and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense isn't the same defense that we saw two years ago.

But that doesn't mean that RGIII is going to pick the Steelers defense apart and lead the Redskins to victory.

One thing going in the rookie's favor is that the Steelers will be taking the field without a key member of their defense, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:

Steelers coach Mike Tomllin has ruled out S Troy Polamalu (calf) and T Marcus Gilbert (ankle) for Sunday's game against the Redskins.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 23, 2012

Yet the Steelers defense is still one of the better units in the NFL, and playing without Polamalu is something they've grown accustomed to. The former All-Pro has only played in one full game so far this season.

Pittsburgh has yet to face as dynamic an athlete under center as RGIII, though, and he's simply too talented to not move the chains against even the most formidable opponents, whether it be with his arm or his legs.

But here's the thing (there's always a "but," isn't there?): For as explosive a player as RGIII is, he doesn't play both ways. And the Redskins defense, simply put, isn't very good—especially against the pass.

It's true that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger doesn't have good numbers against Washington over the course of his career:

0. The Redskins are the only team Ben Roethlisberger has 0 TD passes against. He has a 37.8 completion % against them.

— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) October 26, 2012

It's also true that the Redskins rank dead last in the NFL against the pass, allowing nearly 330 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks.

With Roethlisberger at the helm of the sixth-ranked passing attack in the NFL, picking up more than 280 yards per game through the air, the Redskins defense is in for a very long day.

On top of that, Big Ben is 14-1 at home against NFC teams, losing only to the New York Giants in Week 7 of the 2008 season, 21-14.

So, while RGIII is going to put some points on the boards and break off a big play or too, it simply won't be enough to put the Redskins over the top against a Steelers team looking to put together back-to-back wins for the first time all season.

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