While the Steelers first team offense didn’t generate all that much on Saturday night vs the Redskins, the team hung in there and did enough to overcome Washington 12-10 to move to 2-1 on the preseason. A late short field goal from Connor Hughes was the difference, as the Steelers converted four field goals on the night for all their points. Hughes, who most likley will be looking for another job shortly, made three field goals for the Steelers, all in the 4th quarter. The final one ended a 12 play, 51-yard drive that ended up being the game-winner.
Back to the starters, QB Ben Roethlisberger was pressured quite a bit in the first half, but also showed some toughness, hanging in there and ending the night 8-for-12 for 87 yards. Most of Ben’s yards came late in the half as the Steelers rallied for their only points on their final drive in the first half to cut their deficit to 7-3. The wide out core was led by Santonio Holmes who had two catches for 51 yards, and Nate Washington, who caught three passes for 44 yards.
Willie Parker got his first carries of the preseason, and carried four times for four yards. The rushing game plan was actually built around Veron Haynes, who rushed seven times for 30 yards with a long gain of 12 yards. The Steelers ran for 101 yards on 32 carries, while the run defense was imposing all night, allowing the Skins to run for just 43 yards on 22 carries for an average of 2 yards per carry.
The defense did have its issues in the first half trying to hold Washington on third down. On the night, the Skins ended 7-for-15 on third down, but they started the game red hot, with QB Jason Campbell finding TE Chris Cooley on a couple of early third downs that turned into first downs. The team then started to blitz more, which did pay off by the end of the night with three sacks. “If you look at third down we had great pressure on the quarterback,” said head coach Mike Tomlin. “We had guys unblocked. They weren’t in a bunch of long third downs. Three or four of them in the first half they threw the ball to the guy in the flat and he caught the ball at the sticks.”
The big note on the night though was on the scoreboard, and that was all that counted to head coach Mike Tomlin and the team when it was all said and done. “What I do like about this team is they are competitors,” said head coach Mike Tomlin. “They smile in the face of adversity. We stayed in the fight tonight to the end. I like that. We found a way to finish this football game. When we do identify problems we make them disappear. As long as we continue to eliminate problems that occur we’ll continue to move forward in terms of being a good football team.”
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