The Pittsburgh Steelers knew that in order to beat the Washington Redskins in their Sunday game at Heinz Field they would need discipline and a quick start in the first half. Pittsburgh quickly put up a touchdown and field goal in the first quarter, holding Washington to no points in the first quarter. The Redskins opened the second quarter with a touchdown pass, but the Steelers blocked the PAT, and then added a touchdown and field goal. The Redskins were able to finish the first half with a field goal to make the first half score, 20-9.
The Steelers received the opening kickoff, and Chris Rainey made a good return of 21 yards to set up the Pittsburgh Steelers at their own 24-yard line at set up Ben Roethlisberger and the offense. Running back Jonathan Dwyer got the first call and rambled for five yards. Roethlisberger then mixed up the offense between short passing to tight end Heath Miller and Mike Wallace and rushing by Dwyer. On a 3-7, Roethlisberger stepped back into the shotgun and found Emmanuel Sanders on the left for 15 yards and a first down. After eating up time and yardage, Roethlisberger got the Steelers near the goal-line and found tight end Leonard Pope open for a touchdown pass, the first of Pope's NFL career. Shaun Suisham finished the drive with a successful PAT.
Robert Griffin III started off slow and sure, letting Josh Morgan and Alfred Morris use the running game to gain yards. James Harrison was very active, running down the rushers on two plays. Larry Foote and Brett Keisel were able to stuff Morris for a loss of three yards on the third play of the set, forcing the Redskins to punt.
When the Steelers took over on offense, they tried to run a gadget play to Sanders, but he was dragged down by Ryan Kerrigan. Roethlisberger came back with two passing plays, first to Antonio Brown and then to Wallace to set up a 48-yard field goal for Suisham to put the Steelers ahead by ten.
Starting at their own 20-yard line, Griffin III began with a short pass before going deep to Leonard Paulsen for 31 yards (defended by Will Allen). After two rushes for 15 yards, Griffin III tried to hit Hankerson deep, but overthrew him. Settling for a play out of the shotgun, Griffin III threw a short pass to Santana Moss to get them to the Pittsburgh 14-yard line to end the first quarter.
Sticking to the shotgun, Griffin opened the second quarter with an incomplete pass to Briscoe that was partially knocked loose by Keenan Lewis. The Steelers defense held strong, keeping Morris and Morgan out of the end zone. On the first-and-three, the Redskins were penalized for a false start and backed up five yards. Again the Steelers held as Morris was only able to gain three yards due to tough play by Keisel and Ryan Clark. Covered by Ike Taylor, the pass to Moss was incomplete, setting up a third-and-five. Griffin III tried to take the ball himself, but was stopped short by Keenan Lewis and Ziggy Hood. The Redskins were finally able to score on a two-yard toss to Moss. Showing more tenacity, Ziggy Hood blocked Forbath's extra point attempt to hold the Redskins to six points.
Rainey handled the kickoff, rushing the ball for 22 yards to the Steelers 26-yard line. The Steelers offense started in the no-huddle and the Redskins were penalized for encroachment. Out of the shotgun, Roethlisberger tried to thread a ball to Wallace that fell incomplete, then handed to ball to Rainey twice for a total of six yards. Roethlisberger went back to the pass hitting Brown for 14 yards, Brown for another 18 yards, and then a 10-yard pass to Wallace. Utilizing the no-huddle, Roethlisberger threw two incomplete passes before finding Heath Miller over the center for 7 yards and a touchdown. The PAT was good, putting the Steelers ahead, 20-6.
Washington's next offensive series wasn't successful as the Steelers defense remained active. Griffin III was unable to complete 3-of-3 passes and the Redskins' only yardage was gained by Morris for two runs of 18 yards until they were forced to punt out of bounds.
Starting at their own 45-yard line, Roethlisberger remained in the shotgun and then ramped up the no-huddle offense. Dwyer was able to run for 16 yards in two plays before an incomplete pass to Miller stopped the clock. On 3-7, Roethlisberer found Wallace for a gain of three yards as the time ran out to the two-minute warning. The Steelers settled for 27-yard field goal from Suisham, putting them up by 17 points.
With short time left in the half, Griffin III went three-and-out after throwing three incomplete passes, forcing Rocca to punt the ball back to the Steelers. The Steelers were unable to convert and were forced to punt the ball back to Washington. Griffin III tried to rush up the middle but was hit hard by Lawrence Timmons for no gain, but Casey Hampton was called for encroachment, resulting in a no play. At their own 7-yard line, Griffin III was forced to kneel for a loss of one yard to end the half.
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