24-13 loss leaves Steelers 0-2

Posted Aug 19, 2013


Steelers’ record: 0-2
One year ago: 1-1
Preseason series record: Redskins lead, 15-5-1

With the third preseason game being the one where the No. 1 units see the most playing time, the second preseason game is the one where a good number of those on the 90-man roster get a final best chance to impress the coaching staff. And woe to those players who are in uniform but don’t play for any reason other than injury. “What happens in stadiums is a big element of this evaluation process,” said Coach Mike Tomlin, “but you have to give us enough to peak our interest to get those opportunities. It’s not a good sign, if you’re healthy enough and not a participant in a preseason game setting.”

The Steelers turned the ball over three times – two lost fumbles and an interception – and one of those ended up in the end zone when Ryan Kerrigan intercepted an attempted swing pass and returned it for the game’s first touchdown. That play came early in the first quarter and set an ominous tone for the Steelers.

The offense converted just 1-of-13 third down situations. It’s impossible to sustain any kind of offensive flow with that kind of performance on third downs.

* The first stupid move of the game was committed by the Redskins. On the game’s second play, MLB London Fletcher was penalized 15 yards for grabbing Maurkice Pouncey’s facemask.

* The Redskins’ second offensive series ended when LaMarr Woodley sacked QB Kirk Cousins on a third-and-3 to force the Redskins to punt.

* On a 26-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to David Paulson that moved the ball to the Redskins’ 16-yard line late in the first quarter, FB Will Johnson kept battling OLB Ryan Kerrigan and eventually moved him away to allow Roethlisberger to get the ball off.

* Two games, two plays by OLB Jarvis Jones that resulted in takeaways. On a first-and-10 from the Steelers 13-yard line following NT Barry Cofield’s recovery of a Bruce Gradkowski fumble, Jones flashed into the backfield and forced a fumble by RB Keiland Williams that Ike Taylor recovered.

* The Redskins were moving the ball down the field early in the third quarter and looking to add to their 17-6 lead. But DaMon Cromartie-Smith intercepted a Rex Grossman pass at the Pittsburgh 6-yard line and returned it 17 yards to give the offense the ball at the 23-yard line.

* That’s how you throw a deep ball. Landry Jones rainbowed a perfect 45-yard pass to Markus Wheaton, who got behind CB Chase Minnifield, to put the ball at the Washington 19-yard line. On a subsequent fourth-and-1, Jones then found Derek Moye alone in the middle of the field to complete a 10-yard touchdown play that closed the Steelers’ deficit to 17-13.

* Just a few plays after Moye’s touchdown, the Steelers defense recorded another takeaway. Shamarko Thomas forced a fumble by RB Chris Thompson, and Terry Hawthorne recovered.

* Le’Veon Bell was deemed healthy enough to start, and he carried the ball on the Steelers’ first four plays for a combined 9 yards. But after a third down play on which Ben Roethlisberger scrambled out of the pocket and ran for 2 yards, Bell limped off the field. He missed the rest of the game with what was described as a right foot injury.

* NT Barry Cofield beat Maurkice Pouncey to sack Ben Roethlisberger for a 6-yard loss on the second play of the second series to set up a second-and-16. On the next play, Roethlisberger was trying to dump off a little swing pass to Jonathan Dwyer in the right flat when OLB Ryan Kerrigan jumped up to intercept the pass and return it 22 yards for the touchdown that gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead.

* On the series after Kerrigan’s interception for a touchdown, Roethlisberger converted a third-and-5 with a pass to Emmanuel Sanders, but LT Mike Adams was penalized 5 yards for not being on the line of scrimmage. On the next play, Dwyer was dumped for a 4-yard loss and Brian Moorman came on to punt.

* On a 10-yard pass to Baron Batch that gave the Steelers a first down at the Washington 4-yard line, Maurkice Pouncey was penalized for illegal hands to the face to set up a second-and-17 at the Washington 23-yard line.

* Two plays after Pouncey’s penalty, Roethlisberger completed a pass to Emmanuel Sanders to convert the first down again, only to have a holding penalty on Mike Adams set up a third-and-18 at the Washington 24-yard line. After Dwyer gained 14 yards, Shaun Suisham came on to kick a 28-yard field goal to cut the Redskins lead to 7-3.

* The Steelers first-team offensive line had a lot of trouble with Cofield and Kerrigan throughout the first half. In the second quarter, it was Kerrigan who executed a sack/strip of Bruce Gradkowski, and Cofield recovered at the Pittsburgh 13-yard line.

* Jonathan Dwyer carried three straight times following Ike Taylor’s fumble recovery, and he gained 4 yards, then 23 yards, then he lost 2 yards and the football, which the Redskins recovered at their own 45-yard line. Aided by a pass interference penalty on Ike Taylor that moved the ball to the Steelers 5-yard line, the Redskins subsequently took a 14-3 lead on a pass from Rex Grossman to WR Leonard Hankerson.

* At no point in the game did it appear that either Ben Roethlisberger or Bruce Gradkowski was able to count on solid pass proterction. And a good bit of the time those two quarterbacks were on the field, so was the No. 1 offensive line.

* Trailing 17-13, Landry Jones converted a second third-down situation – this one a third-and-8 with a 9-yard pass to Markus Wheaton down to the Washington 29-yard line, but the play was nullified by an illegal hands to the face penalty committed by G Guy Whimper. Following the penalty, Jones threw incomplete, and the Steelers punted with just a bit more than 12 minutes left in the game.

* For the second straight preseason game, the Steelers were the more penalized team. This time they were flagged eight times for 95 yards, while the Redskins were flagged seven times for 72 yards.

The players not in uniform for the Steelers were CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB Cortez Allen, RB Isaac Redman, RD LaRod Stephens-Howling, ILB Sean Spence, ILB Stevenson Sylvester, G Justin Cheadle, TE Heath Miller, TE David Johnson, and TE Matt Spaeth.