With a defense that put the hurt on the Washington Redskins all night long, and a backup QB that came in and sparked a 13-point second half, the Pittsburgh Steelers scored a most impressive road win, topping the Redskins 23-6 Monday night at FedEx Field. The Steelers trailed four minutes in 6-0 after two Redskins field goals, but that would be the entire night of offense for Washington.
The Steelers dominated on defense from basically start to finish. The Skins were 3-for-15 on third downs, they held the leading rusher in the NFL, Clinton Portis, to just 51 yards on 13 carries, and recorded a smashing seven sacks for minus 45 yards on Skins QB Jason Campbell. Washington had just 93 yards on 40 plays through three quarters.
The Pittsburgh offense got off to a slow start, but after they got a field goal to cut it to 6-3 from Jeff Reed, their special teams got them into the game with 2:11 left in the first half when Andre Frazier blocked a Ryan Plackemeier punt and William Gay took it to the Skins 31.
After a sack and a penalty, Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for 9 yards, then on 3rd-and-12 he hit Hines Ward for 14 yards to the Skins one. On the next play with :32 seconds left in the half Roethlisberger snuck it in for a Steelers 10-6 lead at the half. The negative was Roethlisberger, who was injured in the first half and never returned due to the shoulder injury.
It didn’t matter due to the aggressive play of the Steelers defense, and the stellar play of backup QB Byron Leftwich. The DC native came in to start the third quarter, and on the fourth play he hit a pretty deep ball to Nate Washington for 50 yards that set the Steelers up at the Skins 11. Four plays later Willie Parker got in from one-yard out to make it 16-6 Steelers after Reed pushed the extra point wide.
The miscue wouldn’t matter, as the Steelers defense kept hammering on Portis, Campbell and the Skins, and Leftwich and the offense put the game away early in the fourth quarter. The big play was the first of the drive, which saw Leftwich hit a screen to Mewelde Moore, who went 25 yards to the Washington 22. Five plays later he hit Holmes on a quick throw who took it 5 yards for the score that made it 23-6.
From there it was time for the D to have fun. At one point in the fourth quarter the Skins got it to the Steelers one on fourth down, but the D held as Campbell threw incomplete with pressure coming. Then on the next drive from 4th-and-8 from the Steelers 12, Lawrence Timmons raced Campbell down for a 14-yard sack that ended that drive.
Campbell was 24-for-43 for 206 yards with two picks and a QB rating of 49.2. He also suffered the season high and career high 7 sacks for 45 yards. Overall the Skins put up just 221 yards, and when you consider 128 came in mostly garbage time, that shows you just how good the Steelers defense played.
Leftwich was 7-for-10 for 129 yards with one TD and a QB rating of 145.8. Parker in his first game back from injury ran 21 times for 70 yards with a score, and Washington had 59 yards on two catches. LaMarr Woodley celebrated his 24th birthday with two sacks, and James Farrior had a team high 12 tackles and half a sack.
The Steelers move to 6-2, and come home to host the Colts on Sunday at Hinez Field. The Redskins get a week off before they host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, November 16th.