So what’s the fuss over Robert Griffin III? The Pittsburgh Steelers defense made the extraordinary rookie quarterback look rather ordinary in their 27-12 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Griffin was limited to 177 yards on 47.1 percent passing and only eight yards on the ground as the defense shut down the NFL’s best offense rookie.
But even with their effort, the Steelers defense did not have any major standouts. Instead, the defense played well as an entire unit and did just enough to keep the Redskins from being a major threat to win the game.
In the year of the role reversal, the offense had another excellent game, as they not only dominated the scoreboard, but had an excellent day on the stat sheet.
Here are the players worthy of consideration for the game ball for the victory over the Redskins.
For the second straight week, the Steelers offensive line was excellent.
Maurkice Pouncey returned to the lineup and Mike Adams started his second straight game at right tackle, and the results were terrific.
The line helped set the tone, as the Steelers were able to move the ball on the ground with relative ease. Pittsburgh finished with 140 yards on 27 carries for an impressive 5.2 yards per carry average.
Willie Colon was physical yet again and had no problem sticking his nose in on the Redskins defenders and tried another smother move as he did last week against Vontaze Burfict.
Even late in the game, Colon did not let up, as he was jawing with Redskins defenders following the Steelers' final offensive play of the game.
But Colon was not alone, as Ramon Foster showed his nasty streak as he earned a personal foul penalty and was an overall physical presence in the middle.
The line showed plenty of finesse as well, as it only allowed one sack on the day.
Who earned the game ball for the win over the Redskins?
Ben Roethlisberger had plenty of time on his 33 passes and didn’t even really need to scramble much.
Heading into training camp, the offensive line looked to be much improved. The success was not immediate, but we are finally beginning to see the results on the field.
The Steelers have found a new starting running back, and his name is Jonathan Dwyer.
All training camp, Todd Haley tried to establish the ground game, and now, as the offensive line is coming together, Dwyer is taking full advantage of his opportunities to make the Steelers ground game a real threat.
Dwyer was outstanding once again, as he became the first Steelers running back since Willie Parker in 2008 to reach 100 yards rushing in back-to-back weeks.
For the second straight week, Dwyer had a run of over 30 yards—he had a 34-yard carry this week. While he does not have the big-play ability of Rashard Mendenhall, he is much quicker than Isaac Redman.
Dwyer had 107 yards on 17 carries for an average of 6.3 yards per carry, and he added one reception for eight yards. One of his best carries was late in the game when he picked up a big first down to keep the clock moving.
Beyond his statistics, Dwyer’s ability to run the ball was enough to back the Redskins defense off and really help open up the passing game for the Steelers.
Dwyer may not have found the end zone, but he was a key component in the victory.
As though there was any doubt, Roethlisberger once again earned the game ball for the victory.
Roethlisberger started the game 14-of-18 passing—including three dropped passes—before finishing the game 24-of-33 passing for 222 yards and three touchdowns.
Pittsburgh moved the ball up and down the field with relative ease both in a traditional offense and in the no-huddle offense engineered by Roethlisberger.
He hit nine different receivers and connected with Heath Miller for his sixth touchdown of the season, as well as some surprise touchdown passes to Leonard Pope and Will Johnson.
What made Roethlisberger's effort particularly impressive was his ability to throw strikes and use his deadly pump fake in cold, rainy and windy conditions.
Roethlisberger is playing the best football of his career, and he is trending upward as the season progresses.
Pittsburgh is now 4-3 and slowly catching up to the Baltimore Ravens for the lead in the AFC North.