Week Eight Preview: Redskins at Steelers

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall
Ben Roethlisberger
courtesy of Jeffrey Beall

The Steelers vs. the Redskins is always an interesting match-up. Not because the talent on the field in recent seasons has been comparable or even all that close, but because no two franchises are more opposite. Since Chuck Noll took over the Steeler in 1969 they have had three coaches. The Redskins on the other hand have been a revolving door and while the Steelers stand as the model of consistency and patience. The Redskins are the model of inconsistency and overreaction.

It is a different era now. RGIII has been nothing short of dynamic. His mere presence on the Redskins have given them a chance to win every football game this season. The Steelers want to be the first to put a true beat down on RGIII and the Redskins. With Fred Davis now out for the season and Pierre Garcon possibly headed that way the number of targets RGIII has to throw to are dwindling. In recent weeks Santana Moss has stepped up and looked like the receiver he was when the Redskins first acquired him. A quarterback as accurate as RGIII rarely lacks targets.

As good a passer as RGIII is, and as dangerous as he would be if he played primarily in the pocket. That isn’t his game. Behind RGIII and Alfred Morris the Redskins have one of the best duel threat running attacks in the NFL. The Steelers happen to have the ninth best run defense in the NFL allowing 92.5 yards a game. This hasn’t mattered to the Redskins though. The Redskins have moved the ball against everyone they face, and have ended up with the fifth best offense in the league.

With such a good offense it would be expected that the Redskins would be better than their 3-4 record, but the Redskins happen to have the Redskins secondary, and have the worst pass defense in the NFL. This was on display last week when it looked like a late touchdown from Robert Griffin to Santana Moss was going to be enough to give the Redskins victory, but Eli Manning was able to find Victor Cruz for a 77 yard touchdown. On that play the Redskins make-shift secondary was completely broken down.

The Redskins secondary wasn’t good in 2011, but they did have two true safeties as part of that unit and Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker were able to stay healthy. With it possible that London Fletcher could miss this week the Redskins defense could take another hit. The key for this defense is getting to the quarterback and not allowing him the time to pick apart the weak secondary. With those injuries the Redskins have not been able to do this. Ben Roethlisberger is an experienced quarterback good at avoiding pressuring, going through his progression,  and finding the open target. The Redskins secondary has made lesser quarterbacks look like stars this season.

If the Redskins are going to win this game it is going to be because of RGIII. He has become the Redskins one man show, and even though the Redskins lost last week against the Giants some of their defenders were quoted as cursing the heavens for the existence of RGIII in the NFC East. The Steelers are a tough football team, but they may be overlooking RGIII and the Redskins. Football can be a surprising and unpredictable sport and RGIII can be a surprising and unpredictable player. One thing that has been for certain with the Redskins is that RGIII is giving people a reason to watch.

David Huzzard

David Huzzard was born at Fairfax Hospital in 1981 and has spent his entire life in the Washington, D.C. area. He has been a fan of all the area sports teams either since he was born or since they arrived here. He is also very pleased that his hometown is a burger town.

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