LANDOVER, Md. - It was a one-score game when the Steelers lined up for a first-and-10 from their 27-yard line with 12:53 left in regulation.
RB Le'Veon Bell touched the ball eight times on the 13 snaps that followed, and at the end of what became a 73-yard march in 7:13 it wasn't a one-score game any more.
Williams' lone reception on the drive lost 4 yards but his seven carries accounted for 49 yards, including the final 15 for the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 31-16 lead with 5:48 left in the fourth quarter on Monday night at FedEx Field.
With the game still in the balance, the Steelers relied repeatedly on Williams "by design," QB Ben Roethlisberger insisted.
What resulted was the touchdown that re-established control in what became a 38-16, season-opening victory.
"I don't know if I like being in that spot," Williams said. "I like doing what it takes to win a football game. And if being in that spot is what it takes, then absolutely.
"If we can win a football game and I don't have to be in that spot, then I would take the win."
Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin sensed a direct correlation between Williams doing as much as he had done 26 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns rushing and six catches for 28 yards receiving and the Steelers winning the game.
"You can't say enough about DeAngelo and his performance but we've come to expect that from him," Tomlin said. "That's why we're completely confident in his ability to deliver during the time that (RB Le'Veon) Bell is out (while serving a three-game suspension).
"We'll continue to ride with him."
GROWIN' UP:** The Steelers often rode with three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back in the formation against the Redskins. Often Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates played two of the receiver positions and Jesse James was the tight end in such situations.
They also went with three tight ends on occasion, with David Johnson and Xavier Grimble complementing James.
Repeatedly, the Steelers relied on players who hadn't done it before, who hadn't been asked to play the expanded roles they were asked to on Monday night or who hadn't done it with the Steelers in quite some time.
And they scored 38 points, converted nine of 14 third-down attempts (64 percent), possessed the ball for 33:18, went 3-for-3 in the red zone and generated 435 total net yards.
"That was my message to the guys (on Sunday night) in the offensive meeting," Roethlisberger said. "I think people thought, 'What are you going to do without (WR) Martavis (Bryant)? What are you going to do without Le'Veon, without Heath Miller?'
"My message was, 'Well, we've got Sammie Coates and Eli and all the tight ends and DeAngelo Williams.' We have guys that can make plays and they showed it."
On defense, rookie S/CB Sean Davis played significant snaps as the nickel/slot cornerback in five-defensive backs packages, rookie Javon Hargrave worked in the base defense at nose tackle and LB L.J. Fort filled in for LB Ryan Shazier (knee) late.
"I had confidence going in but like we said several times confidence only goes so far; those guys gotta deliver the plays," Tomlin said. "We were confident in them but more importantly than that they delivered the plays, and that's what's required."
BUSINESS AS USUAL:** All-Pro WR Antonio Brown's much-anticipated matchup with All-Pro CB Josh Norman never really materialized. Norman was on Brown at times but he didn't follow him all over the field all night.
Brown ended up with eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns, both at the expense of CB Bashaud Breeland.
The Steelers neither sought to have Brown covered by Norman nor tried to avoid such matchups basef on what they did schematically.
"We didn't care where Norman was,' Tomlin said. "We didn't have any control over how they utilize Norman. We were concerned about what it is we did."
"We just line up and play," Roethlisberger added. "When A.B. is on anybody, we like that matchup."
THEY SAID IT: "I'm surprised the old man still has good hands." _ Shazier on LB William Gay's interception in the fourth quarter.
"My knee's fine. I'm going to be alright. It's just precautionary. Everything will be fine." _ Shazier on leaving the game in the fourth quarter.
"I heard we had problems last year. I just see this group on the rise." _ Davis on the defense.
"It's been a long road. My first game felt good. My first catch, hit, everything felt great." _ Rogers on his Steelers and his NFL debut.
"It's always pretty good to dial his number. He is Antonio Brown." _ Tomlin on throwing into the end zone for Brown on fourth-and-1 from the Redskins' 29-yard line in the second quarter.