From the notebook of a sportswriter who wants to come at you chronologically today instead of philosophically:
* Steelers fans must've been frightened by the pre-game prediction of the normally gaseous Trent Dilfer, who said "I love the Steelers" and then bragged about his wonderful prognosticaing skills.
* Look of a loser. Randy Moss, though, ever the look of a winner, agreed with him. But instead of bragging about himself, Moss bragged about Antonio Brown.
* Matt Hasselbeck balanced things by picking "Redskins because of the tight end position." He had the look (and sound) of me. Yikes.
* Jon Gruden made two great points in pre-game when he said Ben Roethlisberger is playing the best football of his life because he's not a playground director anymore (my phrasing, not his) and also that the anticipated matchup between A.B. and Josh Norman is all hype, since Norman is a one-side CB, as Roethlisberger pointed out during the week.
* Since it's All-Anthem All The Time anymore, and the cameras intruded upon war hero/left tackle Al Villanueva during and after said song, let's bring back the story Mike Tomlin told about why the Steelers signed Villanueva:
"We were playing Philadelphia last year in the preseason," Tomlin said in Oct. of 2015. "I looked across the field during the anthem and there was a guy standing over there about a head taller than everybody else saluting during the anthem, and it kind of got my attention. I wanted to know about this enormous human being over there saluting. He had the frame of a tackle; he has a tackle background. We thought it was worth our time to take a shot at it and he's proven that it has been worth our time."
* Sean Davis started the game and the Steelers had their first rookie DB start an opener since Chad Scott in 1997, both hybrids out of Maryland.
* Redskins tight end Jordan Reed first made Lawrence Timmons miss, and then Davis miss, in an impressive first series. But his 13-yard gain on third-and-14 only put the Redskins in position to ... punt?
* From the Pittsburgh 40, on fourth-and-1, the Redskins punted, Jon Gruden ripped Jay Gruden, and I was feeling pretty good about the Steelers' chances.
* "I might go for it at home in the opener," Jon Gruden said from the booth.
* Villanueva was on the ground on the first Steelers play, and I'm focusing on him in tape review because he's the only lineman yet to be paid.
* The guys were joking with him in the locker room last week when Villanueva said something about the billions he's going to make after football. "Here he goes again," said Maurkice Pouncey.
* They groan but they all expect Villanueva to actually do it. So do I.
* Eli Rogers catches the first pass of his career, and my concerns about whether the slot receiver could carry his outstanding preseason into the bright lights of the regular season have abated.
* Speaking of Redskins' timidity, Jamison Crowder fair-caught a punt with no one close to him.
* Jarvis Jones didn't provide much production, but he was active and I've felt throughout camp that he's looked to be in much better shape, leaner and stronger, than in previous years.
* It was Washington's second possession, on second-and-6 from the Pittsburgh 13, when Davis and Ross Cockrell pressured together off their left side. The pass attempt to Reed was broken up in the end zone by Ryan Shazier. I mention this because A.) Shazier was brilliant, and B.) It would be the Steelers' only blitz of the game.
* By blitz, I mean bringing more than four. They brought five on that play.
* On third-and-1, and perhaps a harbinger of things to come, Roethlisberger throws for it, and Rogers runs away from the great Norman for a 20-yard gain.
* A few snaps later, Rogers made a rare mistake on this night by stopping short on a Roethlisberger pass that was intercepted.
* Villanueva continued his slow start on the next offensive series by getting beat inside by Ryan Kerrigan, who forced a fumble that the Steelers were lucky to get back. Pouncey forced a quick give-back from Kerrigan.
* Herein lies your difference in the game: While the Redskins punted on fourth-and-1 to open, the Steelers called a play-action bomb to A.B. and Roethlisberger hit the 29-yarder to give the Steelers a 7-6 they never gave back.
* In the too-little, too-late department, Washington went for a fourth-and-6 next series and Rob Golden made his second consecutive series-ending stop.
* I'll say one thing about Jesse James: He's not fast and he's not much of a blocker but the guy takes a hit and holds on. Again.
* Now the third-and-1s are cake. With the Redskins on their heels, Roethlisberger hands off a couple of times to DeAngelo Williams for conversions.
* A third-and-5 pass to Williams should've resulted in his third consecutive conversion but a lousy spot brought up fourth-and-inches, and of course what followed was a 19-yard pass over the middle to Rogers out of the same formation Roethlisberger had thrown the TD to A.B.
* The drive ended with the improbable ricochet TD pass off Sammie Coates and to Rogers for a 14-6 lead; however, Tomlin must answer today at his press conference for his stupidity: He left 27 seconds left on the clock.
* Stupidity has the sarcasm font, right?
* Out of the break and following the third-and-3 back-shoulder fade to A.B., Villanueva begins cooking. He sealed the edge for Williams and then got to the second level to knock a linebacker on his can. Williams gained 17 behind the combo block.
* The crowd's suddenly quiet, with the exception of the sound that Steelers fans love to hear most on the road: their team's offensive line calls.
* So far, I haven't heard Pouncey curse once.
* And I'm even keeping it clean.
* With a 17-6 lead, James Harrison shakes off a block to stuff a draw that began a streak of three consecutive tackles for the old man.
* The third tackle was made after Shazier had forced a fumble that Washington recovered. And that begat Shazier's streak of two consecutive (potential) turnovers because he intercepted the next pass.
* Coates, after two drops/clangs, made his first catch, a 42-yarder over DeAngelo Hall.
* Was it the bright lights of his first Monday night game? Or is Coates just a .333 hitter?
* Roethlisberger completed his 500th pass to A.B. in style, a 26-yard touchdown, to make Ben the first QB in NFL history with 500 completions to three difference receivers. Hines Ward and Heath Miller are the others.
* Some questioned the unsportsmanlike penalty on A.B. for "twerking" after his touchdown. I would've thrown two on him.
* The Redskins, down 24-6, made their only kickoff return, and Davis, Shamarko Thomas and Jordan Dangerfield converged on the tackle. Those are some hard-hittin' safeties they've got out there.
* A potential blitz caused an illegal procedure penalty. That potential wasn't realized the rest of the game.
* Shazier was playing like an animal at this point of the third quarter, but it was Davis with back-to-back tackles followed by a Davis smothering of Crowder on a third-down incompletion into the end zone. Davis played beyond my expectations for a debut game. His D.C.-based family is no doubt proud.
* The Steelers went three-and-out, but there's my man Dangerfield helping Vince Williams tackle the punt returner.
* Shazier said the doctors kept him out, but it was he who motioned for a substitute following Mike Mitchell's tackle of Crowder at the Pittsburgh 21 with 13:50 left in the game.
* On the next play, Shazier's sub, L.J. Fort, made an error of aggression (the best kind) in knocking Davis off his tackle of Vernon Davis, that put the ball at the Pittsburgh 1. The Redskins scored their only touchdown on the next play.
* In what should've been a coverage sack, my OL subject focus, Villanueva, valiantly kept Preston Smith from touching Roethlisberger and then slammed the edge-rusher to the ground. Williams caught the dumpoff for five yards, and then ran a draw off Big Al for nine yards.
* In a rare Norman-A.B. sighting, Norman cut inside to break up the pass.
* Josh Norman is very good.
* And he was telling A.B. just how good.
* On the next play, Coates beat Norman for 14 yards on third-and-13.
* Stop talking, Josh.
* Oh, Coates improved his average to .500 with that catch.
* A couple of snaps later, A.B. beat the other corner for 21 yards on second-and-19. With just under 6:00 left at the Washington 15, the game was over.
* Josh, are you still talking?
* Williams became the oldest player since Fred Taylor in 2009 to rush for 100 yards, and he did it in style with a 15-yard touchdown run.
* On fourth-and-10, Kirk Cousins took off for the sticks but was stopped short by Arthur Moats, who ruggedly shoved Cousins out of bounds. That drew the ire of Redskins' sideliner Hall, who got in Moats' face.
* Whoever gets in Arthur's face is probably greeted by a smile and a "Take it easy, man. Your beating will be over soon."
* Oh, there's Moats and Hall making up at midfield. The chi is back. All is good.
* You know, this O-line is really good and Mike Munchak is a big reason, but he's not the only reason. Good drafting and a lot of money have helped Munch.
* And paying attention to the other sideline during the anthem doesn't hurt.
* James with the last TD-springing block of the night tells me how wrong I was to have worried about the tight end position.
* Reed did catch 7 balls for 64 yards, but James was close with 5 catches for 31 yards.
* Well, kinda close.
* With Harrison's interception in the end zone closing out the game, my question wasn't whether James would score but this: What are the pass-protection porous Cincinnati Bengals expecting from the Steelers' pass rush next Sunday?
* And will the Steelers have the edge at tight end?