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Bleeding Black and Gold: THROWBACK BEATDOWN
October 28, 2012 - Ray Eckenrode
The score: Pittsburgh 27, Washington 12
The headline: TO BEE, NOT TO BEE: Bumbling ‘Skins can’t match Steelers high-octane offense
The bottom line: There was a lot to like about the Steelers performance Sunday, but for the second straight week they won as much because of what the opponent didn’t do (in this case, catch the football) than because of anything they did.
It was over when: … Robert Griffin III’s desperation 4th-and-17 pass bounced in front of Santana Moss at the Steelers 7-yard-line with 4:17 left. The Redskins were put in that down-and-distance hole when Brett Kiesel, invisible for most of the day as he has been all season, sniffed about a tight end screen on first down.
Play of the day: Trailing 10-0, the Redskins looked to be getting back in the game late in the first quarter with a methodical drive that short circuited when wideout Leonard Hankerson dropped a sweet pass from RGIII in the end zone with 0:24 left. That was the first of at least seven – and maybe as many as 11 – drops by the Washington “receiving” corps.
+ At the top of the list of things to like in that game is the play of Mike Adams at right tackle. Adams is still getting some chip help on pass protection, but not nearly as much as earlier in the year, and his run blocking Sunday was stellar, bordering on scary good.
+ Rising on that list is the play of Emmanuel Sanders, who has stayed healthy for probably the longest stretch of his career, and is showing he can make big plays, especially on third down, when teams are trying to cover Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.
+ Despite the obvious penalty that sprung (and brought back) Brown’s TD return, Pittsburgh’s special teams were better with Drew Butler especially shining with one booming punt that switched field position and another downed at the 1 that kept the Redskins from even thinking about trying to score at the end of the first half.
+ We don’t like hot dogging, but we don’t have a huge problem with Brown going in backwards on that ill-fated punt return because we know Brown well enough to know he’s a guy that is truly exuberant about playing football rather than trying to draw attention to himself. It’s still dumb, but we understand.
Game (mis)management: Nothing to note here this week for Mike Tomlin. Mike Shanahan, on the other hand, played the second half, both in terms of pace and playcalling, as if there were a fifth quarter scheduled.
In the booth: Billick’s natural disdain for the Steelers showed through a few times (referring to the team as “them” numerous times, chiding fans for “crying” on an early play) but not to the point it deterred him from analyzing the game well. Honestly, he did a nice job. Sam Rosen, on the other hand, really struggled, missing calls and providing incorrect details (saying Pittsburgh had scored on every drive and also had a bye ahead) several times, sometimes multiple times.
Zebra hunting: Very clean, efficient game from Pete Morelli’s crew, with really only one error (on the Keenan Lewis non-interception) and that was fixed. That end zone call drew a lot of heat on Twitter, but it all came from people who saw the replay in super slow mo. The play looked clean in live action.
A word from our sponsors:
+ Arian Foster has got a future after football in acting or TV. His work in those NFL Shop commercials is spot on.
+ Some future society studying the downfall of man is going to use those X Factor commercials as some pretty convincing evidence.
Sweet tweet: “@dougkeklak: Twitter is about to break in 5 minutes with the Steelers throwback uniforms taking the field.” (Blogger’s note: Prescient tweet. Also, I read more than 300 tweets about the uniforms, not one of them was funny.)
Next week: The Steelers travel to what’s left of New Jersey to face the tough New York Football Giants and Brother Eli in a late Sunday afternoon special, NFC stadium means AFC telecast, which likely means Nantz and Simms. Oh goody.