Cleat Geeks

REDskin Zone: A Rocky Opener

The Pittsburgh Steelers have many of the attributes a winning NFL franchise seeks. Tough defense, an offense that can throw or run, a veteran quarterback and a coaching staff that won’t panic from a slow start.redskinssteelers1

This year’s Washington Redskins hope to get to that winning level, but in Monday night’s season opener the difference in the level of these franchises was clear, as the Steelers overcame a shaky first quarter to bowl over the Redskins 38-16 at FedEx Field.

Antonio Brown caught two of Ben Roethlisberger’s three touchdown passes, while DeAngelo Williams became the NFL’s second 100-yard rusher in 16 opening-week games as the Steeler offense gradually wore down the Washington defense.

brownrothlesburger“They took us behind the woodshed today and wore our tail out,” said Redskin cornerback Josh Norman. “It was a good, old-fashioned butt whooping.”

The Redskins had a promising start that gave them a chance to take control of the game. But three first-quarter drives into Steeler territory and a forced turnover resulted in only two Dustin Hopkins field goals and a 6-0 lead.

Roethlisberger, who was intercepted in the first quarter by Bashaud Breeland, got it rolling after that. First came a fourth-down pass into double coverage to Brown, who hauled in the catch for a 7-6 lead. Then just before halftime, rookie Eli Rogers brought in a deflected pass for a score and a 14-6 lead.

It didn’t get much better in the second half, as the Redskins got a steady dose of Williams, who gained 113 of his 143 total yards on the ground after halftime behind an offensive line that beat down the Redskins’ front seven.

“They did a really good job of finding where we are weak and attacked it,” said Redskin defensive end Chris Baker.
Washington made one bid to rally in the second half, driving for Hopkins’ third field goal to get wining 24-9 and then getting its lone deshawnjacksonredskinstouchdown came after their best drive, a nine-play, 77-yard trek capped off by Chris Thompson’s 1-yard run to get within a score at 24-16.

But after that it was all Williams, who finished the final two fourth-quarter drives with touchdown runs, starting in place of the suspended LeVeon Bell.

Kirk Cousins finished the night completing 29 of 42 throws for 323 yards and two interceptions. And the combination of Thompson and starter Matt Jones could only manage 11 yards on 47 carries between them, a sign of great work needing to be done by the offense and particularly the running game.

Or to be more accurate, a lot of work needs be to done by every man and every coach in burgundy and gold in a short week.

“I’m excited about the opportunity that presents itself and I think this year will be a special year for us,” said DeSean Jackson, who caught six passes for a team-high 102 yards. “When somebody offers you a tough game and a good opponent, we just have to figure out how to win these types of games and hopefully make it throughout the rest of the season and be able to redeem ourselves.”


Injury report

One bit of good news is the Redskins came out of the game pretty healthy. And rookie receiver Josh Doctson, who’s been able to do almost nothing throughout the preseason due to a foot injury, suited up and had his first NFL reception late in the game.


dallasvswashingtonWeek 2 – Sunday at noon vs. Dallas (0-1)

The Cowboys dropped a nail-biter to division rival New York 20-19 on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott took care of the football and Dallas scored on five of its first six drives. However, only one of those scores was a touchdown, giving Eli Manning and the Giants room for a second-half rally.

That puts both teams’ backs somewhat up against the wall for what becomes a bigger-than-usual test for just the second week of the season. Not that Redskins-Cowboys is ever anything but a big game for the fan bases.

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