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Redskins-Steelers game night: Pittsburgh pulls away late, wins 38-16

Top photos from the Redskins-Steelers season opener

LANDOVER MD, SEPTEMBER 12: Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the Washington Redskins play the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field in Landover MD, September 12, 2016. (John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Jump to: Live blog | Stats | Photos | Inactives | Intro | Pregame reading

Here’s your spot to park it and discuss the game with other Redskins fans while you watch. At kickoff, our frequent in-game updates are on the live blog, linked above. This thread gets an update at the ends of quarters. At game’s end, we’ll link to all of our coverage, and close up shop for the night. Everything you need should be linked here, so enjoy!

Here’s our coverage from tonight:

Roethlisberger and the Steelers hammer Redskins in opener, 38-16

● Steinberg: Redskins say they want to run the ball. They didn’t act like it.

● Brewer: Redskins find out right away that reality might not meet expectations

Lack of investment in D-line renders big investment in Norman useless

● Bog: Best and worst moments from Redskins’ season-opening loss

And not from tonight’s game, but link worthy:

Robert Griffin III’s latest injury might be the last chapter in his sad saga

● Smart money says the Browns move on from Griffin for good

Final — Pittsburgh came through with another scoring drive and DeAngelo Williams touchdown with two minutes left. Kirk Cousins drove Washington inside the five-yard line but was intercepted in the end zone by James Harrison with 18 seconds left.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for Washington, which had a lackluster pass rush, lackluster running game and didn’t take advantage of its big opportunities. We’ll have a couple stories and couple columns linked here shortly, plus the D.C. Sports Bog’s best/worst.

5:48, fourth quarter — With Washington having drawn to one score, Pittsburgh put together a clutch, 12-play scoring drive. Ben Roethlisberger hit Sammie Coates for 14 yards on third and 13, and later stepped up in the pocket and found Antonio Brown for 21 yards on a second and 19. DeAngelo Williams then ran through David Bruton Jr. and Bashaud Breeland on a 15-yard touchdown jaunt that made it 31-16.

13:01, fourth quarter — Cousins is precise leading a touchdown drive, featuring a rumbling Vernon Davis catch and a Chris Thompson touchdown run. Washington went 77 yards in 2:08, and cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 24-16.

The offense looks revived. The question is whether the defense can come up with a big stop or two down the stretch.

Gene Wang, Master Tesfatsion and I are posting more often over on the live blog. That’s the best place to follow the finish.

2:01, third quarter — Kirk Cousins leads a bounce-back scoring drive, completing seven passes in a row. But after a Trent Williams hold leads to a first and 20, and Cousins has to throw it away on third down, it only results in another field goal. It’s 24-9.

7:08, third quarter — This has gotten out of hand quickly.

Ben Roethlisberger. Antonio Brown. Again. The videos speak for themselves.

11:18, third quarter — Pittsburgh starts the second half with a seven-play drive that ended with a field goal, and then ran 14 of the final 15 plays of the first half. That’s 21 of the past 22 plays, sandwiched around halftime. The Washington offense is cold.

Halftime — So Washington probably felt good about its opening quarter, but ultimately finds itself down eight at the half.  The halftime stats are pretty even, with Pittsburgh outgaining Washington 179-174 and outrushing Washington 40-28. The Steelers have made the most of their opportunities though, with a couple of turnovers that slipped out of Washington hands (or off shoulder pads) looming as costly.

Kirk Cousins is 12 of 18 for 146 yards passing, while Ben Roethlisberger is a whopping 16 for 21, with two touchdown passes and one interception. Pittsburgh’s Eli Rogers has a game-high six catches for 59 yards, while Antonio Brown has three for 47. DeSean Jackson has three catches for 70 yards to lead Washington, while Jordan Reed kicked in four for 43.

Pittsburgh did have eight first downs and 10 minutes time of possession in the second quarter, according to the ESPN broadcast.

Here are more halftime stats.

0:27, second quarter — The Redskins controlled the early going, and missed at least one opportunity for a huge play. But the Steelers hung in there, and slowly chipped away, getting their offense going with passes to Antonio Brown, Eli Rogers and new tight end Jesse James.

Ben Roethlisberger pinballs a touchdown throw to Eli Rogers and the Steelers go up 14-6 with 27 seconds left in the half:

It’s been the type of swing in the game where Washington might have felt like it’s played well, but their missed chances have been costly, and you knew the Steelers weren’t going away.

10:18, second quarter — Pittsburgh makes a gutsy play call on fourth and one, faking the handoff right to DeAngelo Williams, then having Ben Roethlisberger loft a rainbow to the left that drops into the hands of Antonio Brown with Bashaud Breeland in coverage. The Steelers are up, 7-6.

15:00, second quarter — Washington nearly had another huge play when Ryan Kerrigan stripped Ben Roethlisberger, but Pittsburgh recovered and the quarter ended with the Steelers down, 6-0.

1:08, first quarter — Washington kicks its second field goal of the first quarter. The key play on the first drive was a 31-yard crossing route that DeSean Jackson caught while matched up on linebacker Lawrence Timmons. A Bashaud Breeland tipped-pass interception set up the second one.

15:00, first quarter — Pittsburgh won the toss and deferred to the second half, so Washington will start on offense. The first play of the season is a 12-yard Kirk Cousins completion to Jordan Reed, which is probably a good omen.

Over on the live blog, Master Tesfatsion has posted the inactives:

Rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson is active for his NFL debut, but safety Duke Ihenacho is inactive against the Steelers. It’s a bit of a surprise given his preseason play.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld, wide receiver Rashad Ross, rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller, center Austin Reiter, defensive end Anthony Lanier and guard Arie Kouandjio are also inactive.

It’s been more than eight months — 248 days, to be exact — since the last meaningful Redskins game. Washington fans had to wait a day longer than most of the rest of the NFL but get a Monday night home opener against the playoff-caliber Steelers. Pittsburgh is regionally a rival, but also an AFC team that Washington won’t have to see again unless it’s in the Super Bowl, making for the perfect Week 1 test. Win and fans can feel good about withstanding the challenge of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Ryan Shazier and others. There’s no shame in losing a close one either, although Pittsburgh is without suspended star running back Le’Veon Bell.

Week 1 can be about your own team as much it’s about the opponent, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin pointed out earlier in the week. On that front, Redskins fans want to see a crisp and efficient Kirk Cousins, utilizing DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed, and a functional running game. Functional would be fine for most of the defense too, but a standout Washington debut from cornerback Josh Norman and a serious pass rush from Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan would help too.

As good as both teams look on paper, there’s no replacement for getting a chance to see it in action, when it counts. Here’s everything you could need to know about tonight:

The basics:
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0)
Kickoff: 7:10 p.m. ET at FedEx Field
Radio: 980 AM; 92.7 and 94.3 FM.
SiriusXM: SIRI 81, XM or SXM 225, internet 831.
Streaming: Watch ESPN | Reddit streaming thread
Line: Steelers by 2, o/u 49.
Box score: Updating every 60 seconds here.
Redskins roster | Depth chart | Injury report
Steelers roster | Depth chart | Injury report
All Insider posts leading up to the Steelers game.
Stats, Inc. game preview
Week 1 schedule & scores
Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo@lizclarketweet@MasterTes,

Pregame reading
Kirk Cousins faces the danger of high expectations after breakout 2015
On a per-game basis, Cousins will earn nearly as much in the first half of Monday’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers as he did all last season. By every metric, Cousins had a brilliant 2015 campaign, but even the Redskins’ own front office signaled it wasn’t entirely convinced, in effect, by using the NFL franchise tag rather signing him to a long-term contract.

Steinberg: Gruden defies the odds in winning over Redskins’ locker room
After going 4-12, Gruden didn’t change his approach, remaining the same player-friendly, wise-cracking, ball-chucking extrovert who got the job. If it worked, this approach would seem charmingly refreshing. If it didn’t, he would be lumped in with Spurrier and Zorn: first-time NFL head coaches who were in over their heads in Washington. The latter felt like the betting favorite.

Brewer: Norman has it all, including the MNF spotlight. Will he enjoy it?
A locker room scene illustrates nearly all that comes with the fame that Norman has longed for: fatigue, constant attention, lack of privacy and the struggle to stay whole as stardom spreads you thin. Crouching near his locker, Norman looks like a ball of yarn trying to stay tightly wound. If only he could stay that way. If only he wanted to stay that way. Soon, he opens up because, as much as he hates this uncontrollable monster, he loves it more.

As season draws near, Redskins defense embraces ‘wolf pack’ mentality
“They kind of bought into it, kind of took a life of itself,” Barry said. “It’s kind of been a cool little deal for us the last month or so. But it’s true. It is the greatest quote that I have ever seen talking about [how] as an individual, you can be great, you can play great, but in a team sport — which football is, obviously — playing defense is about the team. It’s about the unit. It’s about the pack. It’s about all 11 playing as one.

Previewing the game: Five story lines | Key matchups | Game-day notes

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