Steelers’ record: 4-3
One year ago: 5-2
Series record (including playoffs): Redskins lead, 43-33-4
There are two requirements for any team planning on contending for a playoff spot: avoid losing streaks, and then find a way to win more than one in a row. Coming into the matchup against the Redskins, the Steelers had succeeded three times in avoiding a losing streak by following a loss with a win. But they also had failed three times to win more than one in a row. This became their fourth chance to fashion a winning streak.
Maybe it wasn’t so much a turning point as a setting of the tone. Facing a Redskins offense that was ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring, the Steelers had to understand this wasn’t going to be a field goal game. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Coach Mike Tomlin left his offense on the field, and
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
With four minutes left in the game, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin II had completed 16-of-34 for 177 yards, but conservative estimates put the number of drops by his receivers at seven.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* The Steelers’ second play of the game looked to be one of those quick screens to a wide receiver with
* With a 7-yard catch of a bullet along the back of the end zone midway through the second quarter, Heath Miller tied Elbie Nickel on the team’s all-time list for career touchdown receptions by a tight end. With that score, Miller and Nickel both have 37 touchdown catches.
* The Steelers defensive backs had an active first half, and that’s meant in a good way.
* On a 39-yard punt with 32 seconds left in the second quarter –
* Through the first half, the Steelers defense did a nice job containing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had 3 yards rushing and 58 yards passing after completing five of his 13 attempts.
* On an attempted throwback screen to tight end Logan Paulsen,
WHAT WENT WRONG
* Why? Why? Why? One play after
* On a running play by Alfred Morris with 13:23 left in the third quarter that lost 2 yards, Ryan Clark was hit in the head and taken off the field. He subsequently was diagnosed with a concussion and was out for the game. Clark will be subject to the league’s concussion protocol now before being cleared to practice and/or play.
* It was too good to be true. After getting through a first half in which the Steelers executed four kick returns – two on punts and two on kickoffs – without being penalized, but that streak ended early in the second half. On what could have been a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown by
* It was a third-and-6 with about 10 minutes left in a game the Steelers led at the time, 27-12. Ben Roethlisberger spotted Emmanuel Sanders crossing the middle of the field and put the ball right in his hands. Sanders dropped the ball, and the Steelers missed an opportunity to maintain possession and continue to milk time off the clock.
TOMLIN MAKES GOOD ON HIS THREAT
Five days before the Redskins game, Coach Mike Tomlin said “We believe we have some dynamic return men. Penalties negated that effort. What is going on in our return game from a penalty standpoint is disturbing … To be quite honest with you, the multiple offenders and egregious offenders are going to be watching as opposed to playing as soon as we get some options as to who plays and who doesn’t.”
True to his word, Tomlin signed
With Pouncey able to practice all week and then start the game, Tomlin was comfortable waiving C/G John Malecki, who had been signed from the practice squad the previous week to give the team another center in case of an injury to