It’s a cold, soggy day in Pittsburgh, as the visiting Redskins and the Steelers have begun their battle at Heinz Field.
The Steelers come into the game with a 3-3 record, but have one of the top defenses in the National Football League. The Redskins (3-4), meanwhile, are hoping to counter with their No. 1-ranked rushing attack to get back to .500 on the season.
Pittsburgh won the opening coin toss and elected to receive, taking the initial 62-yard kickoff to their own 24-yard line.
On their first drive of the game, running back Jonathan Dwyer evaded multiple tacklers and rushed for a five-yard gain. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struck next, utilizing a pump fake to find tight end Heath Miller for a 25-yard gain.
The Steelers continued their methodical drive from there, getting within five yards of the end zone on an 11-yard pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Mike Wallace. Two plays later, Roethlisberger found Miller again for a two-yard gain to the one-yard line to set up a 3rd and Goal. Dwyer’s run was stuffed as linebacker Rob Jackson and safety Reed Doughty got the stop.
The Steelers elected to go for it on 4th and 1, and scored their first touchdown on a playaction pass from Roethlisberger to tight end Leonard Pope.
The Redskins’ defense was out on the field for more than seven minutes, but got a key 3rd down stuff. The 4th-down conversion and touchdown was just terrific execution by the Steelers. On the drive, Roethlisberger completed seven-of-eight passes for 65 yards and the touchdown. He was able to escape danger several times and find his receivers down the field — something he’s been doing well for his entire nine-year career.
Washington began its first drive at their own 19-yard line with both tight end Chris Cooley and Logan Paulsen in at tight end. Cooley, as you may remember, is playing his first game for the Redskins this season after being released by the team during final cuts. He was re-signed last week after starting tight end Fred Davis suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last Sunday vs. the New York Giants.
The Redskins’ first play from scrimmage was an end-around, nine-yard rush by wide receiver Joshua Morgan. Running back Alfred Morris — the reigning NFL Rookie of the Week — was stopped on his first run without gaining a yard.
On 3rd and 1 from their own 28, the Redskins went to Morris again. Same result — this time he was stopped for a loss of three, and the Redskins were forced to punt. The Steelers’ top-ranked defense won the initial battle against the Redskins’ top-ranked running attack.
The Steelers began their second drive from their own 28-yard line after a high, spiraling punt from Sav Rocca. Dwyer promptly took the first handoff untouched for a gain of 34 yards and to the Washington 38-yard line. On the next play, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders got the ball and appeared as if he was going to pass, but he was sacked by outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
Two plays later, the Steelers faced a 3rd and 15 from the 43 when Roethlisberger got the snap and stepped into a fastball to Antonio Brown. The 13-yard gain was two yards short of the first down, so former Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham came on and nailed a 48-yard field goal to give the Steelers the 10-0 lead with 2:49 left in the first quarter.
The Steelers, by the way, are wearing their 1934, 80th Anniversary throwback uniforms. I found this tweet from ESPN’s SportsNation spot on:
Washington began its second drive from its own 20-yard line. Their first play was a screen to Morgan, who found 12 yards for the first down, the Redskins’ first of the game. That was followed up by a 31-yard pass from quarterback Robert Griffin III to tight end Logan Paulsen — a career-long reception for Paulsen, who got the start today. That big play was followed by a 10-yard run by fullback Darrel Young — the Redskins’ third straight first down.
Two plays later, on 2nd and 5, Griffin III rolled out and found wide receiver Lenoard Hankerson wide open at the front of the end zone. The pass bounced off Hankerson’s hands and fell to the turf. Ouch.
On 3rd and 5 from the 22, however, Griffin III found his newest favorite target, veteran receiver Santana Moss, whose 8-yard gain got the Redskins into the red zone for the first time today.
CHIME IN: What are your thoughts about today’s first quarter of action? Feel free to comment below.
Tags: 2012 regular season, pittsburgh steelers, washington redskins
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