1. Will Moss and Samuels play?
We thought they would play and they did. Samuels' knee was hurting pretty bad and he did not have one of his best games. The Redskins did not run to his side very often and he was also called for three holding penalties. Moss caught just two passes for 14 yards and wasn't much of a factor.
2.Will the Redskins be looking ahead to the time off?
We didn't think that would be an issue and we still don't. The Redskins didn't lose because they were looking ahead to the bye. They lost because Pittsburgh was better. And because the offense couldn't do anything against the Steelers' D.
3. Is this a statement game for Washington?
Again, we didn't think so. However, Pittsburgh certainly made a statement with its defense. Very impressive. And the Steeler fans made a statement. How the heck did so many get tickets? That's embarrassing. Before the game I thought the Redskins had given out gold towels as a promotion there were so many of them being waved. Nope; those were Terrible Towels. Thousands of them. The Redskins can recover from this loss, but there was one statement that they made: they need the bye. And their top CB has bad hands.
4. Can Clinton Portis run against this defense?
We thought it would be difficult. It was beyond that. The Redskins were unable to commit to the ground as much as they would like, partly because they could not get first downs early and partly because they fell behind too far late. Portis managed just 51 yards on the ground; 22 came on one play.
5. Why are the Steelers so good against the run?
Personnel combined with a talented defensive playcaller in Dick LeBeau. The combination made it difficult. Pittsburgh plays fast and physical. C Casey Rabach did a solid job up front, but the linebackers speed was a problem.
6. What must Washington do offensively to win?
The Redskins had to be patient and creative. They really weren't either. The Redskins beat blitz-happy teams like Philly and Dallas by moving the pocket more and keeping the defense off-balance. They moved the pocket a few times, but Pittsburgh never seemed to be fooled by anything. We thought they'd have to win the field position battle and they did – early. But they managed just two field goals despite unbelievable field position. The Redskins used max protection rarely and that would have helped.
7. What else?
Protect Jason Campbell, we said. He was sacked seven times and hit hard a number of others. It wasn't just because they were behind; he was sacked four times in the first half. Again, the linebackers too often were into the chests of the tackles before they could get set, preventing them from anchoring. Another time Rock Cartwright got shoved back into Campbell. Cartwright is too small to be in protection.
8. What are the concerns about Pittsburgh's offense?
The deep ball – and it hurt the Redskins. There was a long pass interference penalty on Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot was beaten on a 50-yarder. That's what the Steelers do. It was enough to win.
9. What must they do against this offense?
They had to get to Big Ben and they did in the first half, blitzing him seemingly every play and from various angles. London Fletcher came up the middle – as we expected – a lot. One thing they also had to do was take advantage of the pressure by forcing turnovers. Rogers dropped one of the easiest interceptions he'll ever have. Again. He's a personal favorite, but this issue is getting old. The look on the faces of coaches and teammates in the locker room suggest as much. Greg Blache said, "He can't catch." Fletcher just shook his head and was speechless.
10. Will the Redskins win?
We didn't think they would and thought the Steelers would win by three. They were too much defensively and the Redskins' offense, while generating yards in other games, has not scored enough points. That's a big issue going forward. We thought Pittsburgh would also force a couple turnovers and sure enough Campbell tossed his first two picks of the season. The Redskins need this time off to recover physically from the first nine games. And then the fun begins.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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