The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Washington Redskins 27-12 Sunday at Heinz Field and below are my second half notes from the game. Here are my first half notes if you missed them.
Cortez Allen makes the tackle on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Robert Griffin III hits tight end Niles Paul on a deep crosser between the Steelers linebackers and the defensive backs off of a double play action fake. This is the second time in the game that we have seen this play and it worked both times All of the Steelers linebackers are frozen on the play and the defensive backs have their backs turned. Don\’t think that the New York Giants have not spotted this on film. Lawrence Timmons makes a nice read and play on Albert Morris on a toss left a few plays later. This is the play that Ryan Clark suffered his concussion on as he took on the fullback. On the next play Griffin is flushed out of the pocket to his left and Will Allen closes quickly to force the quarterback to throw the ball away. This is the play, where at the end of it, Griffin gets to meet James Harrison face to face and it is pretty comical. The Steelers defense is able to hold on third and long and the Redskins opening drive ends with a long field goal. Steelers 20-9
Jonathan Dwyer starts the next drive off with a nice run thanks to blocks by Heath Miller and Will Johnson. Dwyer gives Redskins linebacker London Fletcher a nice stiff arm on the play. Dwyer follows it up with another nice run to the left a few plays later as he bounces it outside. This time it is Miller and Emmanuel Sanders with the good blocks. Dwyer actually runs right up the back of Sanders on the play, but is still able to bounce it left. Ben Roethlisberger hits Baron Batch out to the left on 2nd and 7 for the first down. On the play it is Mike Wallace, who effectively rubs off linebacker Perry Riley to free Batch out in space. Great execution so far on this drive. The Redskins defense is really on their heels now and a simple play-action play out of a tight formation allows Roethlisberger to hit Miller, who jammed first off of the line before slipping out into his route. On the 3rd and 3 that will follow, the Steelers go to their bag of tricks as Chris Rainey takes a direct snap to the right side behind a convoy of blockers and almost scores. You can see that play broken down here. On first down Riley gets lower than Dwyer to prevent a touchdown. On second down is the short pass to Johnson for the score out of a similar formation used earlier in the game when Leonard Pope scored. Rookie tight end David Paulson does a nice job of running enough interference on the linebackers after motioning inside prior to the snap so that Johnson has plenty of room to work with. It was funny watching Dwyer streak past Johnson to go get him the football that he spiked after the score as it was his first touchdown.
Morris gets good yardage on the toss left on first down as both Timmons and Larry Foote get caught up in trash on the play. Harrison takes on the fullback to contain the outside, but Brett Keisel can\’t make the arm tackle coming down the line and that leaves Ryan Mundy as the one that has to make the tackle. Griifin under throws Santana Moss on the 1st and 15 play as the quarterback saw Harrison closing in on him. It looked like Moss may have slipped, but it is a ball that he should have caught just the same. Timmons flushes Griffin out of the pocket on 2nd down, but the quarterback does a good job of hitting Josh Morgan. On 3rd and 9 the Steelers blitz off of the edge, but Griffin makes a bad throw to tight end Logan Paulsen. I will have to watch this play on the all-22, but it looks like Allen should have picked this ball off. It looks like it clanked off of his hands.
Next up is the punt that Antonio Brown takes to the house, but it is called back because of a block in the back by Curtis Brown. It really looks like Curtis could have at least dove and cut the man, but the right call was made on the play. Antonio is flagged on the other end of the field for running the last 20 yards to the end zone backwards. This play really would have been easy to point to as a turning point had the Redskins come back and won this game.
The Steelers offense goes three and out, but Fletcher receives the Willie Colon treatment on this drive. Drew Butler gets off a nice punt but the special teams unit still allows a good return by Brandon Banks, who comes close to breaking it if not for Will Allen.
Griffin fumbles on first down, but no Steelers players are close enough to have a chance at recovering it. The Steelers have the Redskins in 2nd and very long, but it looks like Timmons and Ike Taylor have a miscommunication on the coverage and Dezmon Briscoe gets a good chunk of the yardage back on a pass from Griffin to set up a very manageable 3rd down situation. This is the end of the third quarter and the two teams switch ends. Morris easily picks up the first down on an inside handoff to move the chains as Timmons and Keisel are walled off inside. On 1st down Griffin goes deep to Aldrick Robinson in the end zone, but Keenan Lewis makes a nice play to get his arm inside to break it up. Lewis had the left arm of Robinson hooked on the play and this very easily could have been flagged. LaMarr Woodley comes off of the edge on a later 2nd down play and it forces Griffin to throw behind Morgan, who is unable to make the catch. Foote beats the running back Evan Royster on 3rd down for the sack and the Redskins have to settle for another field goal.
I am not sure why Will Johnson decided to field the short kickoff just ahead of Rainey. There needs to be better communication there from Rainey I do believe. Sanders has an awful drop on a third down play of the next drive as he tries to run before securing the football. This drive had the chance to be one of those that chews up 6 or 7 minutes that would have been a back breaker. Instead the Steelers are forced to punt.
Lewis has great over-the-top coverage on Morgan on a deep first down pass, but he is flagged for illegal hands to the face. It really looks like a ticky-tack call. The Redskins now have abandoned their run game down 15 with 9 minutes remaining and Woodley gets good pressure on the next drop back as he doesn\’t fall for the bootleg. Griffin does get the ball out to Darrel Young in the flat, but the fullback drops it. On 3rd down Griffin hits Moss on a short curl, but Will Allen comes up to jar the ball loose. Moss has to make this catch as Allen is 3 yards away from him when the ball is in his chest. Moss does catch the next one on 4th down on a little pivot route underneath Taylor. Jason Worilds does a good job of pressuring on the flea flicker and Griffin is forced to dump it off to a late releasing Paulsen. Keisel sniffs out a screen a few plays later for a loss and the Redskins are now in a 3rd and 17 situation deep in the Steelers end. A score here really sets up an interesting finish, but two incomplete passes later the ball goes back to the Steelers on downs.
Dwyer shows some nifty feet on the next possession as he sidesteps a tackle after catching a pass in the right flat. That play moves the chains and forces the Redskins to burn another timeout. After the next run is stuffed, DeAngelo Hall gets himself thrown out of the game. Dwyer not only gets a first down on an outside run to the left that follows the penalty, but also a 100 yards on the day. What is even better is that he goes down in bounds and keeps the clock running. This forces the Redskins to burn their last timeout. A very heads up play. The game is really over at this point.