WHY THEY WON
The first string defense was electric.
It was a role reversal from last week where the Redskins couldn't stop the Titans rushing attack to save their lives. Washington's front seven put pressure in Big Ben's face all evening long and shut down the Steelers' ground game from the beginning. Ryan Kerrigan ignited the Redskins when he read a potential screen play, tipped the ball to himself, and bolted to the end-zone to get the team on the board. The secondary flashed glimpses of its potential with David Amerson playing extremely well in his second professional game, and while rookie safety Bacarri Rambo whiffed on a big run, redeemed himself with a forced fumble on the next play. E.J. Biggers and Chase Minnifield struggled in coverage against Steelers backup Bruce Gradkowski but there was a lot to like with the first team's effort.
Sexy Rexy made his long-awaited return to Washington.
By now, Washington knows what they are getting with third string quarterback Rex Grossman. Last night was a stern reminder that Grossman can still get the job done when called upon. Stepping in for the injured Kirk Cousins, Grossman finished 10-of-16 for 133 yards, including a touchdown strike to Leonard Hankerson. Grossman did throw an interception deep in the red zone but it was a miscommunication with rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who didn't flash across the face of the safety, and was out of position. Washington fans have been begging for somebody to take Grossman's place on the roster but he proved once again while he's invaluable to the team. He doesn't cause problems off the field, he's willing to spend time teaching the offense, and is fully capable of leading the team if an injury arises.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: QB Rex Grossman
Hard to give it to anybody else this week. The running game wasn't as dominating as it was last week against the Titans, which forced offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to sling it with Grossman.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: LB Ryan Kerrigan
There isn't any other choice. It didn't matter where Kerrigan lined up, he was all over the field and caused problems for the Steelers offensive line. He was credited with a sack of Roethlisberger, notched an interception which he returned for a touchdown, and drew several holding penalties. Washington's pass rush could be scary with Kerrigan, Orakpo and Brandon Jenkins on the field at the same time.
- It was a bad night for the Redskins draft picks. Jordan Reed ran a sloppy route that led to the Grossman interception and dropped a few easy catches. The rookie running back duo of Chris Thompson and Juwan Jamison were average, combining for 8 carries and 34 yards, including a fumble by Thompson, who saw his shoulder pop out of place after a big hit from Steelers safety Shamarko Thomas.
- The receiving crew looked very good – despite dropping a few catchable passes. Hankerson hauled in a beautiful one-handed touchdown grab from Grossman late in the second quarter but saw a previous pass float in-and-out of his hands earlier in the evening. Robinson continued to impress with a tough 23-yard grab to setup the Hankerson touchdown and was responsible for a 30-yard pass interference call on Ike Taylor. The top-5 is pretty much locked in to place, the only question that remains is if Shanahan and company will keep 6 on the final-53 man roster.
- Washington has to put an end to the silly penalties. They didn't hurt the team last night but there is going to come a time where opposing teams are going to make the Redskins pay for those 15-yard flags. London Fletcher tallied an unsportsmanlike penalty after dragging Steelers tight end David Paulson to the ground after the play was whistled dead. Safety DeJon Gomes logged two penalties, one being an unavoidable helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver, where Gomes really had no chance to make any other play. The second was an inexcusable late hit on Emmanuel Sanders, who was clearly out of bounds.
- It's time to put the quarterback battle to bed. Washington fans put a ton of stock in Pat White's performance against the Titans, but Grossman clearly outperformed him tonight. White has shown that he's capable of sticking on an NFL roster somewhere but it isn't going to be with the Redskins. White finished the game 3-6 for 22 yards and an interception. He did have 24 yards rushing but barring Kirk Cousins' foot injury being serious, White isn't going to make the final roster.
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