IT WAS OVER WHEN... About 30 minutes after the Redskins' team plane landed in Pittsburgh. The Redskins were basically never in this game. The Steelers scored on every drive of the first half, apart from the last drive, which ended in a punt Pittsburgh downed at the one yard line. Washington's defense could not stop Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and his stable of super-fast wideouts. Pittsburgh understood that the best way to get up on Washington is to throw and throw and throw, trusting Washington's poor secondary and non-existent pass rush to make things easier. It worked. Kudos to the Steelers for watching past Redskins games from this season and learning a thing or two from it. But, to be consistent with past weeks, I'll pick Pittsburgh's last touchdown drive, a 10-play, 74-yard thing of beauty that ended with Roethlisberger tossing a 1-yard TD pass to Will Johnson. That made the score 27-9 with about 5 minutes left in the third quarter, ending any chance the Redskins had to come back.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING... It was all about the passing game today -- and Washington's inability to do anything to stop the one Pittsburgh brought. Roethlisberger's statline was sterling -- 24 of 33 for 222 yards and 3 TD. No turnovers.
I LIKED THAT... Pretty much nothing. RG3 looked accurate for most of the day and I counted only two genuinely poorly-thrown passes by the young quarterback. Unfortunately, his receivers decided they had better things to do than catch passes... The offensive line looked pretty good today, surrendering only one sack -- and that one was on TB Evan Royster, who forgot to block on a third down passing play -- and 78 rushing yards on 15 carries by runners not named RG3. That's a 5.2 yards per carry average.
I DID NOT LIKE THAT... Everything else. The secondary never covered anyone all day. The front seven never even made Roethlisberger sweat. The receivers dropped 10 passes and WR Leonard Hankerson [who had the first drop of the day] also never looked up as a perfect pass sailed right past his face mask. The 10 drops were the most by any NFL team this year and WR Santana Moss, who caught a TD pass, dropped four passes, basically embarrassing himself most of the day... CB DeAngelo Hall embarrassed himself more than anyone. He never covered anyone all day and then had a complete meltdown in garbage time of the fourth quarter, pulling his helmet off [personal foul] and verbally abusing an official with profanity [personal foul]. Hall was correctly ejected and will be correctly assessed a fine by the NFL. He may also be suspended and I would have no problem with that either. [And it's not like Washington's pass defense would suffer from his absence.] Hall is actually a captain. Think about that. A man who got two penalties on one play last year -- one of them a personal foul -- did the same thing again this year. And he's a captain of this team. If the Redskins are not embarrassed by that, they should be. Hall is the personification of everyhing wrong with the Redskins for years -- he's a mediocre player who thinks he is a star because Dan Snyder is stupid enough to pay him like one. Remember, the Redskins got a $36 million salary cap fine from the NFL [$18 million this year and the same again next year] so they could sign DL Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall. Think about that. Very few North American pro sports franchises have ever been so poorly run as this one.
AND IT ALL MEANS... The Redskins are 3-5 -- again. And last in the NFC East -- again. Their defense is awful, the receivers think they have better things to do than catch footballs and defensive captain DeAngelo Hall has demosntrated once again what a complete pinhead he is. Once again we saw rookie RG3 completely let down by his veteran teammates. Right now, the Redskins are a team with a super-talented quarterback, a good running back and a pretty good offensive line. The defense is a mess, while the special teams allowed another blocked kick and got off a 12-yard punt. It's not so much that the Redskins lost to the Steelers in Pittsburgh -- many teams better than the Redskins have done that. The problem is the Redskins were never competitive in this game and parts of the team seem to be getting worse -- much worse -- as the season goes on. It's hard to imagine a 3-5 team having a must-win game, but Washington needs to win at home this coming Sunday against the 1-6 Carolina Panthers or this once-promising season will spin out of control. I'm not talking about making the playoffs because I don't think that was ever a reasonable expectation. I'm talking about finishing this season well and convincing a long-suffering fan base that there is more to this team than one smart, hard-working and ridiculously-talented rookie quarterback.