Behind Enemy Lines: Washington Redskins
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PITTSBURGH (93-7 the Fan) —
Steelers vs Redskins, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA, Sunday 1:00pm FOX
Spread: Pittsburgh (-4.5) 47.5 O/U
All-time regular season series: Redskins lead the all-time series, 43-32-4 with a 22-19-1 advantage in Pittsburgh.
Last Meeting: November 3, 2008 in Washington, Pittsburgh won 23-6
This will be the Redskins 2nd straight road game and 5th in the first 8 weeks of the season. Washington is 2-2 in their first 4 road games of the season including last weeks loss against the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Redskins have already played one other AFC North team this season, losing at home to the Bengals in week 3 of the season. The Steelers are coming off of a Sunday night win against those same Bengals. If the Steelers season trend continues, they should leave Heinz Field Sunday with a loss. Pittsburgh has not won 2 straight games since the final regular season game of the 2011.
Offensive Player to Watch: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback
RG3 is one of the most exciting and dynamic young players in the NFL. The Redskins traded 3 future draft picks to move up in last April’s NFL Draft to assure themselves of getting Griffin and he has not disappointed to this point. He has been the teams starter from day 1 and arguably has been the best rookie QB so far this year in the NFL. Griffin brings a mix of Michael Vick’s scrambling ability and speed along with the passing game of a prototypical pocket passer. Griffin ranks 3rd in the league in QB passing rating and has only thrown 3 interceptions this season. If he does have a weak point at this point, it would be that he tries to hard to make plays and may hold on to the ball a bit too long. He has been sacked 15 times already this season. Since Dick LeBeau returned to the Steelers in 2004 his defenses have fared very well against rookies, going 12-1 against 1st year signal callers.
Defensive Player to Watch: Ryan Kerrigan, Outside Linebacker
Kerrigan is another recent 1st round draft pick that has panned out for the organization. He was originally a defensive end, but has switched to outside linebacker after the Redskins changed to a 3-4 base defense. His style of play is comparable to that of Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. This season Kerrigan has 3.5 sacks, but none since week 4. He also has an interception that he returned for a touchdown. Throughout his career he has been known for using his size and wingspan for batting down passes if he can’t get to the quarterback. He will be matched up against a familiar foe on Sunday, going against Steeler rookie Mike Adams. Both players played in the Big Ten and had countless battles with each other in college.
Strengths: Running Game
Typical of a Mike Shanahan coached team, the Redskins have a solid running game and a running back that nobody had ever heard of before this season. Alfred Morris has accounted for over 600 yards on the ground and 5 scores to go with RG3’s 400+ yards and 6 touchdowns. The Redskins have averaged 177.7 yards per game on the ground this season, which is top in the NFL.
No team in the NFL has allowed more yards through the air this season than the Redskins. They have allowed 2299 yards so far, 299 more than the next worst team. Washington has intercepted 10 passes this season, which ranks 3rd in the league but has also allowed 16 scores through the air which is a league worst.
He Said It:
“I know that they are the Steelers’ defense. Whenever you say that, it holds a lot of power and a lot of weight. Regardless of what other people have said about them, they are still a very good defense.” – Robert Griffin III, Redskins QB