Redskins at Steelers – Can Robert Griffin III Outplay Big Ben?
- Updated: October 26, 2012
Washington’s defense gave up a huge game deciding touchdown to Victor Cruz on Sunday, and heading into Pittsburgh they have a much similar challenge on their hands with Big Ben. Can Robert Griffin III outplay him? Or will this be another heartbreaking loss in the final minutes of the game?
Since being drafted into the league in 2004, Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the most dominate quarterbacks at home, posting a 48-14 record (.774), along with multiple AFC Championships and division wins. In other words, beating Big Ben in his castle is needless to say extremely hard to do.
Robert Griffin III so far this season has proven he’s not your average rookie by setting and breaking not only rookie records, but also NFL records. On Sunday, Griffin will need to perform not only to the level we’ve seen the last couple of weeks, but even better than that if the team wants to leave Pittsburgh with a win.
The Redskins have not beaten Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh since 1991, that’s before they moved to Heinz Field. Since 1991 they have played there three times (97, 00, 04) and have lost each of those times. The last meeting in 2008 was one Redskins fans would most definitely like to forget. FedExField was taken over by Steeler Nation, and the Redskins lost as the team had to go to a silent count in their own stadium.
This week will most likely be no different. Pittsburgh has one of the more passionate fanbases in all the NFL, and when they get loud, it’s deafening. While Robert Griffin III and the offensive line have not let noise bother them all season long, the addition of Dick LeBeau’s defense could be the icing on the cake.
Dick LeBeau has been one of the best defensive coordinators in the league and is a prime reason why the Steelers have made the playoffs, not to mention have made three appearances in the last seven years. That’s not to outplay their offense who has been nearly dominate, but when it comes to Pittsburgh, you think of defense.
Luckily for the Redskins one of Pittsburgh’s most dominating defensive players, Troy Polamalu is out for the game. With Polamalu out, the Redskins should have a bit of an easier job passing the football than they would have with him in. This is especially important because the Pittsburgh Steelers pass defense is the strong side of the defense, and without their best playmaker, things could be a little easier.
Unfortunately, things aren’t much different for the Steelers rush defense, who is also top 10 in the NFL this year, and has held some of the best running backs in the league to under 100 yards rushing a game. The bright side to that is the option play the Redskins run which has so far been confusing every defense in the league. If the Redskins can do that in Pittsburgh, then this defense could be made a lot more suspect than what they are currently.
While Pittsburgh has been hit with the injury bug pretty bad themselves, so have the Redskins as we all know first hand. The Redskins pass rush has become non-existent thanks to season-ending injuries to Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker. It’s still up in the air at this moment whether London Fletcher will play or not this week.
Due to the speed of Pittsburgh’s wide receivers, and the ability of just about any and all of their offensive players to break a play at any moment, the defense is going to have to play honest the entire game. Ben Roethlisberger is much like Tim Tebow, expect he can actually throw the football. He might not have speed like Robert Griffin III, but he as the ability to make players miss, while also shrugging them off and making plays happen.
If the Redskins plan to continue to tackle the way they have all week, that being not wrapping up and allowing players to bounce off of them, the Redskins defense could be in for a long day, putting all the weight on rookie sensation, Robert Griffin III. Pittsburgh might not be the same Pittsburgh we’ve seen over the last couple of years, but nobody should be expecting them to lay flat on their backs.
Without a doubt Robert Griffin III can outplay Big Ben in his home, it’s just a matter of the entire offense being on the same page with their heads all in the game. The dumb penalties that we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks, along with the turnovers have to stop, not only if they want to win in Pittsburgh, but if they want to make the playoffs.
As mentioned on the podcast this week, the best bet for the Redskins is to play a less aggressive defense, and make the offense as lethal as they can for the rest of the season in order to win games.