Ben went down, Byron stepped up

Posted Sep 7, 2016

A look back at a memorable win over the Washington Redskins in 2008.

Time Machine: Steelers 23, Washington Redskins 6
November 3, 2008
FedEx Field

With a Monday Night Football national television audience watching, and a FedEx Field crowd of 90,512, many of them waving Terrible Towels, on hand, the Steelers never said die even when they lost their leader on offense.

Redskins’ kicker Shaun Suisham, yes, he was with Washington then, got them off to a 6-0 lead with field goals from 44 and 43 yards out. Jeff Reed got the Steelers on the board with a 35-yard field goal to close the gap to 6-3.

Just before the half Ben Roethlisberger got the Steelers offense clicking completing a nine-yard pass to Santonio Holmes had a 14-yarder to Hines Ward. Roethlisberger punched it into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak, but it came at a price. Roethlisberger injured his right shoulder on the play, and was replaced in the second half by Byron Leftwich.

“I have no update on Ben at this point,” said Coach Mike Tomlin after the game. “Potentially, he was capable of going back in the game, but we went down the field with Leftwich in there to start the second half.”

Leftwich, who is from Washington, D.C. and grew up a Redskins fan, completed seven of 10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, for a quarterback rating of 145.8.

“I was ready to play,” said Leftwich. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while. I'm healthy for the first time in a while and I'm just happy that I got the opportunity to play. We all know Ben's the guy. Ben's the quarterback of this football team, and I know I was going to be there in case something happened. Something happened today.

“I can play this game. I can play this game in Canada, I can play this game in Alaska, I can play this game anywhere.”

Leftwich settled in from the get go, taking the Steelers down the field on his first drive of the game, which included a 50-yard completion to Nate Washington. Willie Parker got in the end zone on a one-yard run, and the Steelers were quickly up 16-6.

The defense gave Leftwich the help he needed when Deshea Townsend thwarted a Redskins drive when he intercepted Jason Campbell at the 23-yard line, Campbell’s first interception of the season and ending a Redskins record streak of 271 completions without one.

“That was big,” said Townsend. “It was one of the best drives they had going.

“The one thing about the West Coast offense, once you get a bead on it, you can figure it out. We stopped the run, we got to the quarterback well and we didn't give up big plays and, when you do that, chances are you're going to win.”

Leftwich led the Steelers to a second touchdown on a 12 play, 77 yard drive that culminated with a five-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes for the 23-6 win.

The Steelers shut the door on the Redskins when Tyrone Carter recorded the team’s second interception of the day.

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