Those three little words: Pittsburgh Steelers win.
Nothing’s better than that.
Ben Roethlisberger: Vintage form tonight. Which is to say he made play after play from the pocket, something he’s done for years and may – finally – be getting credit for. Not many offenses would have the confidence to put the ball in their QBs hands on 4th and 1. Twice. Roethlisberger converted both, including a touchdown to Antonio Brown to give the Steelers the lead.
He was able to extend the play in several instances, the Roethlisberger most national media and fans still view him as. He was great with the only blemish an INT that wasn’t his fault.
DeAngelo Williams: Old? Williams defies the meaning. It was tough going early but the Steelers, and Williams, wore down a vulnerable front three for Washington and eventually gashed them as the second half marched on. He finished with 25 carries for 137 yards and one of the sickest TDs you’ll see from a running back this year.
He chipped in six catches for good measure, an outlet for Roethlisberger’s scrambles.
Antonio Brown: I mean, what do you say? Brown toasted Bashaud Breeland, who reportedly was having a great camp for Washington, and by the day’s end, finished with eight receptions for 126 yards and two scores. He gave the Steelers’ offense some serious juice with a contested touchdown for the opening score. He followed it up with an over-the-shoulder grab in the left corner of the end zone.
Defenses haven’t figured out how to stop this guy. Tonight, Washington could barely slow him down.
Eli Rogers: It was a little rocky in the beginning. Rogers stopped on a route, leading to an interception. But you have to admire his toughness but I mean hey, for a guy who fought his way back from a broken foot, you know he’s a tough cookie. Rogers hauled in all his receptions in the first half, snagging six passes for 59 yards and a ricochet touchdown.
Ryan Shazier: Shazier unfortunately left the game with a knee injury though hung around the sidelines, hopefully meaning good news for his Week Two outlook. His stellar talent was highlighted by forcing a fumble one play and then picking off Kirk Cousins the next, returning it 51 yards, though that was negated by a Mike Mitchell penalty.
Another guy who had a rough start but once he settled in, he flashed.
Robert Golden: It’s usually Jordan Dangerfield who gets the “no respect” card, an obvious route given his surname. But it’s Golden who embodies it the best. On a night where the Steelers’ tackling was suspect, Golden was rock solid. He finished with five total tackles, including a big stick on a 4th and 6.
That play-to-play, game-to-game consistency shouldn’t be overlooked.
Pass Rush: It’s true that Keith Butler wasn’t cooking in the lab tonight, opting to rush three or four throughout. But the Steelers were rarely about to touch Cousins in the pocket, failing to sack him once on his 44 dropbacks. I wonder when the last time that happened was.
It’s one of the biggest issues for Pittsburgh and today didn’t make anyone feel a whole lot better.
Tackling: I was going to break this down by player but there is too many to mention. Lawrence Timmons struggled. Sean Davis wasn’t great. Too much YAC, especially early, when Jordan Reed was able to extend two drives. Like the whole team, they did settle down, but those aren’t the “detail” things Mike Tomlin emphasized before the game.
Ross Cockrell: Cockrell didn’t show a lot of physcality, may have had issues getting proper depth in his zones, and was called for pass interference late in the game working against Desean Jackson. I wouldn’t call it a horrible performance but not up to snuff.