Join the discussion in our Washington Redskins live blog as we continue to break down their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Redskins are struggling mightily on offense without any playmakers for Robert Griffin III, who’s had a half dozen dropped balls. The Steelers, meantime, are moving the ball with ease and hold a 20-6 lead. Boxscore



Redskins at Steelers: It’s 3-5 at the halfway point

DeAngelo Hall removes his helmet, the better to jaw with a referee and hear that he had been ejected from the game. (Joe Sargent / Getty Images)

Well, okay, that happened. The Redskins lost a game they never really were in and fell to 3-5 at the halfway point of the season. There’s a game next week against the Carolina Panthers, with a bye week up after that. Before that, though, we’ll see what kind of discipline DeAngelo Hall receives from the NFL and we all have to get through Sandy. Stay safe this week — thanks for taking time out from storm preparations to join us. 

RGIII talks about dropped passes, being receiver himself

It isn’t every day the quarterback gets called for pass interference, but it was that kind of game for Robert Griffin III, whose wide receivers couldn’t hold onto the football.

“For us, it’s about execution, whether you have a drop or a bad play here or there. They have to know that I’m going to come back to them because these are the guys I have to play with. ‘Tana [Santana Moss] had a drop, he came back and caught a big play on fourth down and that’s how it’s gotta go. If I make a bad pass, coach isn’t going to stop calling passing plays. I still have to go out there and try to make a good play throwing the ball. I think that’s the main thing…you tell ’em that I’m going to come back to ’em no matter what happens and I need ’em to make plays for me.”

RGIII was asked how he felt he played:

“We lost the game. That’s all that matters. I’m not going to … say that I played a great game. We lost the game. You’re judged by wins and losses. … 

“You want to go out and be successful, execute plays and have everything work for you and then when you have a day like today where almost nothing worked for you, it is very frustrating.”

On being called for pass interference:

“The receivers can never say I didn’t prevent interceptions, so, I mean, it is what it is [small laugh]. I got hit in the face, he ran into me, we all were pass interfering everybody, so it doesn’t matter.”

On whether he liked being used as a receiver:

“I’m not going to sit here and tell coaches not to call plays like that if they feel like they’re going to work. Every time in practice versus that look, it worked. We just had a different way it played out in the game. It is what it is. I got up. We moved on to the next play.”

And, how much of the problem with dropped passes was ball placement?

“I’m going to have to look at it on film and say, ‘Hey, I could have given him a better ball here or a better ball there.’ But, like I told them, we’re all working on this thing together. It’s not one guy’s fault ever. We just have to make sure we go out and execute better.”

DeAngelo Hall says he’ll meet with Roger Goodell on Monday, but will he?

DeAngelo Hall started his locker room interview (via Comcast SportsNet) by asking for “any questions about the football aspect of the game”, then added:

“I’m not going to discuss that particular play. I’ve got a meeting set up with Commissioner [Roger] Goodell on Monday. Me and him will talk about it, watch the film, figure out what went down, hopefully get to the bottom of this.”

The league office is, it was pointed out to him, closed tomorrow. Plus, it’s not that easy to sit down with the commissioner and watch film.

“Well, we’re gonna figure something out. I’ve got my agent calling him and trying to set something up so…”

Hall declined to say anything further about the play or his ejection.

Mike Shanahan: On the dropped passes, Hall’s ejection

Coach Mike Shanahan, after his team dropped to 3-5 with a 27-12 loss in Pittsburgh (marking the fifth time in last 10 seasons that Redskins have been 3-5 at the season’s halfway point):

The weather was not a factor in the receivers’ double-digit drops because (wait for it) “they had the same weather as we did. I definitely don’t attribute it to the weather.”

As for DeAngelo Hall’s outburst and ejection for jawing at a ref:

“We talk about keeping your composure regardless of what happens, regardless of what the situation is. You never put your team in that type of situation, especially when it was going to be — I mean, any situation, you can’t do it. Obviously, it took all the pressure off them in that scenario.” 

As for what magic words Hall might have uttered, Shanahan said, “I wouldn’t share it with anybody anyhow, but it was enough to draw a flag.”

Back to the drops…

“You can’t have that any drops … and keep drives going. We had some opportunities and the potential for a number of big plays and you’ve got to make those plays against this typed of defense.”

Shanahan on whether he’s ever coached a game in which so many passes were dropped:

“It’s been a long time since I had a game like this.” 

 Shanahan was asked what role Robert Griffin III might have played in the drops:

“I don’t care where the placement is. As long as it hits your hands, you’d better catch it or you won’t be in the National Football League for very long.”

A promise from Adam Carriker

Redskins lose to Steelers, 27-12

The Redskins scored their fewest points of the season in a 27-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. The team’s previous low came in a 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Washington compiled 255 total yards, and Robert Griffin III had just 177 yards passing.

DHall’s frustration spills over

A meltdown in pictures, from Danny:

DeAngelo Hall gets ejected

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan doesn’t appear happy hear, nor will he be pleased with the actions of cornerback DeAngelo Hall. (Getty)

In the latest episode of questionable temperament, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was ejected for jawing at an official. Hall was engaged with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders before approaching an official and removing his helmet. Hall pointed his finger at the official and appeared to use profanity several times. Stay tuned to see if there’s more punishment in store for the volatile Hall.

Redskins take their time

For a team that’s down by 15, there wasn’t a lot of urgency on that drive, was there?

Are we sure Stickum is illegal?

Alex35332 has a suggestion for the Redskins: “Notes. RG3 needs to get rid of the pink arm band. That thing is a big tell on what he is doing with the ball.”

Maybe. But if Robert Griffin III’s receivers had managed to hang only to only half of their dropped passes…

It’s the Kai Forbath show

Robert Griffin III has been held in check by the Steelers. (Associated Press)

Redskins place kicker Kai Forbath booted his second field goal to draw the Redskins within 27-12 with 12:11 left in the game. The good news is Forbath was good from 47 yards after making another from 48. The bad news is that the Redskins can’t afford to trade field goals for touchdowns against the Steelers.

Third-quarter takeaway: More of the same

Washington continues to struggle to find consistency on offense, and the Redskins can’t get stops on defense.

 The Steelers strung together yet another long scoring drive, going 80 yards in 11 plays to find the end zone on a play-action pass from Roethlisberger to fullback Will Johnson.

 More drops from the Redskins’ pass-catchers. Robert Griffin III is now just nine-for-20 passing for 117 yards.

Line judge warns Mike Shanahan

Mike Shanahan was pleading his case about a personal foul penalty called against a mystery No. 27 on the defense when the line judge admonished the Redskins coach, telling him he was “tired” of listening to him. Shanahan did have a point though, as there was no No. 27 on the field when officials called offsetting penalties on Pittsburgh and Washington.


Steelers take 27-9 lead

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed his third touchdown pass of the game to give the Steelers a 27-9 lead with 5:13 left in the fourth quarter. This time Roethlisberger sold a play-action fake and completed a one-yard scoring throw to Will Johnson, who was wide open in the front of the end zone.

Redskins move within 20-9 on field goal

Santana Moss secures a two-yard touchdown reception. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Looks like rain is falling much more heavily to start the second half, although it hasn’t seemed to affect Robert Griffin III, who completed a long pass to Niles Paul and ran for a nice gain around the right side before being pushed out of bounds. And Kai Forbath was able to make a 48-yard field goal to draw the Redskins within 20-9 after the drive stalled.

Second-quarter takeaway: Little going right for Redskins

The Redskins continue to offer little resistance to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lead 20-6 at halftime.

Steelers receivers continue to get open, and Ben Roethlisberger has rarely been under pressure. The quarterback has completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers have outgained the Redskins 234-110.

Very little has gone right for the Redskins. They drove downfield and did score on a pass to Santana Moss early in the second quarter, but Kai Forbath’s extra point attempt was blocked. The Redskins tried some trickery, running an end-around to Josh Morgan, who then threw a pass to his back side to Robert Griffin III going up the left sideline, but Griffin pushed off the defender, but couldn’t make the catch, and was called for offensive pass interference on the play. Washington had the ball with 1:53 left in the half, but three straight drops by Evan Royster, Morgan and Moss killed the drive and brought on Sav Rocca.

Steelers add another field goal

Place kicker Shaun Suisham’s 27-yard field goal gives the Steelers a 20-6 lead with two minutes left until halftime. With the way the Redskins offense has been running in place, that may be more than enough for Pittsburgh to win.

Special-teams problems put focus on Smith

That 12-yard punt, coupled with the missed extra point, puts the focus of fans’ criticism back on special-teams coach Danny Smith. (Jim Haslett should send him a fruit basket for taking the heat off him, for a few minutes.)

“Gimmicky plays and atrocious special teams play – Smith has to go if only for symbolic reasons,” Rockyboy1 writes. “Somebody has to go in with a fresh regime and shake up the special teams play – snap, block, hold, release, kick, punt, catch, protect, run…”

Is he right?

Protecting RGIII

Everybody loves the razzle-dazzle plays, but, really, you want to put your star QB, Mr. Robert Griffin III, in that position?

Redskins special teams a disaster

Punter Sav Rocca just delivered a kick that covered about eight yards following place kicker Kai Forbath having his extra point blocked. So far a forgettable day for the special teams.

This Roethlisberger guy is a pretty good QB, too

Ben Roethlisberger takes the Steelers 74 yards on 10 plays. He has completed 14-of-18 passes for 143 yards and two TDs.

Steelers extend lead to 17-6

Ben Roethlisberger tossed his second touchdown pass, this one to tight end Heath Miller from seven yards, to give the Steelers a 17-6 lead with 6:24 left until hafltime. Pittsburgh is having no problem moving the ball against a suspect Redskins pass defense, and Roethlisberger is getting plenty of time to throw. A recipe for disaster the rest of the day for the Redskins.

Redskins answer with touchdown

Robert Griffin III tossed a second-quarter touchdown to draw the Redskins within 10-6. (Associated Press)

The Redskins’ gamble to go for it on fourth down and goal paid off with Robert Griffin III’s two-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, but place kicker Kai Forbath missed the point after to make the score 10-6 with 11:38 to play in the second quarter. It was the first miss (field goals and extra points) for Forbath.

First quarter takeaway: Pass coverage remains a challenge

The Washington Redskins trail the Pittsburgh Steelers 10-0 after one quarter thanks largely to the ongoing matter of poor pass coverage.

The Steelers marched right downfield on the first series of the game with a 12-play, 76-yard drive. Ben Roethlisberger (9-for-10 in the first quarter) completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope for the touchdown.

The Redskins defensive backs gave up a lot of cushion, and the Steelers capitalized. On the drive, Roethlisberger had a 25-yard pass to 6-foot-5 tight end Heath Miller, who has quite the mismatch while covered by the 5-foot-9 London Fletcher.

The Redskins went three-and-out on their first possession, but moved the ball well in the second series.

Leonard Hankerson dropped what would have been a touchdown pass at the three-yard-line just before the quarter ended.

Did somebody say Stickum?

Evidently, it’s contagious.

Mr. Hankerson drops a sure-thing TD.

Concerns about the defense continue

The presence of Shaun Suisham (and his foot) is going to trigger a fair amount of criticism in the comments here…but at least this drive ended in 3 and not 6.

Good point by Ricky Roge (from the comments): “We miss Orakpo, but no one talks about Carriker’simpact! He’s REALLY missed!”

Steelers take 10-0 lead

Place kicker Shaun Suisham boots a 48-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 10-0 lead with 2:54 to play in the first quarter. Suisham is 15 for 16 in field goals this season, so the Redskins probably are glad they released him.

Steelers march into end zone on first drive

Well that was easy. The Pittsburgh Steelers went 76 yards on 12 plays in 7 minutes 5 seconds for a 7-0 lead on Ben Roethlisberger’s one-yard touchdown pass to backup tight end Leonard Pope. You get the feeling the Steelers will be able to do virtually whatever they want in the passing game and that Big Ben is in store for a big day.

Throw back the Steelers’ throwback uniforms

What in the name of all that’s sartorially acceptable are the Pittsburgh Steelers wearing? Worst throwback uniforms ever? There have been some bad outfits, but goodness, these set a new standard for horrible. Reminds us of that bumblebee from the “No Rain” video.

Ben Roethlisberger is out early for Halloween dressed as a bumblebee. (Associated Press)


Fantasy focus: Redskins at Steelers

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a top five QB1 this weekend against a pass defense that has struggled against the likes of Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and Josh Freeman. Pittsburgh’s running back situation remains in flux, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the offense relied heavily on Roethlisberger completing passes to speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace as well as Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Plus Heath Miller is a fine TE1 option against a defense that yields the second most fantasy points to the position.

For the Redskins, Robert Griffin III is a required start as usual, as is Alfred Morris at RB1. Santana Moss is a viable flex play or WR2 in deeper leagues with Pierre Garcon out indefinitely. As for Chris Cooley, he’s best left on the bench until further notice.

Welcome back Chris Cooley

Tight end Chris Cooley is set to make his highly anticipated return to the Washington Redskins today against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The player affectionately known to fans as Captain Chaos has not played an NFL game since Oct. 16, 2011, when his eighth season, all with the Redskins, ended with knee and finger injuries. Cooley and the Redskins reached an agreement for his comeback following the news that starter Fred Davis would be lost for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.