Steelers stymie Griffin, roll over Redskins

Andrew Chiappazzi, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Robert Griffin III might be the freshly anointed one, but Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers showed the Washington Redskins' rookie quarterback what an elite performance looks like.
Roethlisberger was an efficient 24 of 33 for 222 yards and three touchdowns, Jonathan Dwyer carried 17 times for 107 yards, and Pittsburgh's defense stymied Griffin in the Steelers' 27-12 win at Heinz Field.
"Everyone kind of forgot about our defense because of the way we've been playing these last few weeks," Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "We just got back to playing our style of football, and that's attacking."
Griffin came into the game with the NFL community buzzing about his performance through the first seven weeks. However, the Steelers shut down his ability to run (six carries, 8 yards) while also limiting rookie running Alfred Morris (13 carries, 59 yards).
With no running game to lean on, Griffin tried to carry Washington (3-5) with his arm. He completed 16 of 34 passes for 177 yards, and he was victimized by 10 clear drops by his receivers.
"I guess it was just a bad day for us," Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson said. "We didn't make those plays. That's our job to make those plays, and we didn't do it well today."
Meanwhile, Roethlisberger put on a show in the first half. The Steelers (4-3) scored on their first four possessions to take a 20-6 halftime lead. Roethlisberger was 6-for-7 on Pittsburgh's opening drive, with his 1-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope on fourth down producing the game's first points.
"He's throwing the ball quicker than you would think," Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "We're used to him scrambling around a lot. That's what we've seen on film, but he was able to do more three-step drops today. That was an adjustment for us."
Griffin ran just three plays before Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a 48-yard Shaun Suisham field goal for a 10-0 lead entering the second quarter.
Washington got on the board with its own fourth-down conversion inside the red zone. Griffin threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, but the extra point was blocked to keep the score 10-6 with 11:33 left before halftime.
Washington's defense had little answer for the Steelers' patient, efficient offense, though.
"We just try to make an emphasis on making our offense more balanced and to let our offense decide our destiny, not just being a passing team," Dwyer said. "If we want to run the ball, we run the ball. If we want to throw over their heads, we can do it."
Pittsburgh rode a 10-play, 73-yard drive to its next touchdown, as Roethlisberger found Heath Miller for a 7-yard strike to make it 17-6.
Suisham added a 27-yard field goal just before halftime to make it
20-6 at the break.
The second half wasn't much more productive for the Redskins. Kai Forbath's 48-yard field goal cut the deficit to 20-9 with 11:52 left in the third quarter, but the Steelers chewed up 80 yards and 6:39 off the clock on 11 plays before Will Johnson hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to make it 27-9.
Forbath added another field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Washington had a chance to make it a one-possession game.
Griffin connected with Moss to convert a fourth-and-4 with 7:56 left, and the Redskins slowly worked their way down to the Steelers' 17-yard line. Washington couldn't get any closer, as three Griffin incompletions sandwiched a short pass to Hankerson that went 7 yards in reverse.
Dwyer and the Steelers (4-3) ran out the clock from there to ice the game.
NOTES: Washington tight end Chris Cooley played in his first NFL game since Oct. 16, 2011. Cooley's 2011 season was cut short by injuries, and he was released prior to the start of this season. Washington re-signed him Monday after losing Fred Davis for the year. ... Miller's touchdown catch was the 37th of his career, tying him with Elbie Nickel for the most by a tight end in Steelers history. ... Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct toward an official after getting into the face of an official in the fourth quarter. ... Steelers safety Ryan Clark left the game in the third quarter with a concussion. He did not return.

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