Pittsburgh - 13
Washington - 24
Game Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pass Offense: Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed five of six passes for 66 yards plus a pick six by Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Bruce Gradkowski completed five of his nine passes for 60 yards and lost a fumble. Landry Jones went nine-of-22 for 111 yards and a touchdown. The quarterbacks were collectively sacked four times and were under pressure throughout the game. The lone bright spot was a 45-yard Jones-to-Markus Wheaton completion and his subsequent 12-yard touchdown pass to Derek Moye. Jones struggled even against the second- and third-team Washington defense. Backup right guard Guy Whimper was overwhelmed in the second half; starting center Maurkice Pouncey was overwhelmed in the first.
Run Offense: Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell made his preseason debut, with four carries for nine yards before injuring his right foot. With Isaac Redman and La'Rod Stephens-Howling not in uniform, the majority of the run duties went to Jonathan Dwyer, who rushed 14 times for 68 yards—a 4.9 yards-per-carry average. Dwyer looked more explosive, but he also had a lost fumble. The offensive line did a better job helping out the run than the pass.
Pass Defense: The Steelers were the top passing defense last year but weren't as flawless this week. They gave up a total of 164 passing yards and a lone passing touchdown and didn't allow for much deep passing. However, over the middle they were beaten repeatedly, mainly when Washington backup quarterback Rex Grossman was on the field. Rookie Nick Williams and veteran starter LaMarr Woodley each had a sack.
Run Defense: The run defense held well until the fourth quarter, when the third team was on the field against Washington backup passer Pat White. The Redskins ran some read-option plays with White at the helm, resulting in a 30-yard touchdown run by Roy Helu. White rushed four times for 24 yards and the Redskins ultimately averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry. The first team was much better; Washington had only 19 first-half rushing yards.
Special Teams: The Steelers special teams units neither scored nor allowed a touchdown, while kicker Shaun Suisham made both of his field goal tries. Reggie Dunn and Kashif Moore combined for 50 yards on two kick returns, and Dunn also added 37 punt return yards. The Steelers' kick and punt coverage unit was sloppy, but the longest return they allowed was on a kick to Helu.
Coaching: Pittsburgh clearly wanted to get more out of their run game this week, though the tide switched to a more pass-oriented attack as the backup quarterbacks came in and the Redskins extended their lead. There was a stubborn lack of deeper pass attempts and overall conservatism that didn't maximize the Steelers' offensive strengths. However, there were no clock-management, time out or challenge flag issues from the coaching staff.
First-Half Analysis for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pass Offense: Ben Roethlisberger completed five of six passes for 66 yards, however he also threw a pick six to Washington defender Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan, along with Darryl Tapp and Barry Cofield, wreaked havoc on Pittsburgh's offensive line, leading to two sacks of Roethlisberger and a lot of pressure. Center Maurkice Pouncey was notably poor.
Run Offense: After notching just nine yards on four carries, rookie running back Le'Veon Bell left the game with a right foot injury. He was replaced by Jonathan Dwyer, with both Isaac Redman and La'Rod Stephens-Howling not dressing. Dwyer had nine carries for 57 yards but added a fumble to his night.
Pass Defense: The Steelers handled Kirk Cousins well, allowing only two completions on three attempts for a mere 19 yards. However, after Cousins went out with a foot injury, the Steelers defense weakened against his replacement, Rex Grossman. Grossman completed seven of his nine first-half passes for 101 yards and a score. He was mostly effective in the middle of the field.
Run Defense: The Steelers run defense performed well in the first half, holding Washington to a collective 19 rush yards. Cousins was Washington's leading rusher, with two carries for 14 yards; star back Alfred Morris gained only 12 yards on his four carries.
Special Teams: Kicker Shaun Suisham made his two attempts, for 28 and 30 yards, the Steelers' only scores. Reggie Dunn had a kick return of 30 yards while Markus Wheaton, the punt returner, netted a total of just -2 yards on his one opportunity. The coverage team performed well, allowing only 14 yards from both kick and punt returns.
Coaching: Because the Steelers needed to test their run game behind Bell, they chose to run the ball a lot, with 13 passes to 18 runs in the half. This produced mixed results—it wasn't smart when Bell was gaining a mere 2.3 yards per carry, but it was better once Dwyer came in. There were no clock management issues or bad challenges.