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John J. Raspanti
After nearly knocking off the Super Bowl champions, Robert Griffin III and his teammates now face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Pittsburg Steelers (3-3) will try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season as they host a Redskin team (3-4) who came within a whisker of upsetting the Giants last week.
Even in defeat, Griffin continues to impress. The dynamic rookie threw for 258 yards and ran for 89 more. For the season, he's completed 70 percent of his passes. His 101.8 passer rating is third in the league.
"We've gone out and executed and been able to move the ball," said Griffin. "So it's just about knowing what you're doing out there and feeling the pressure even when other people do."
Rookie running back Alfred Morris is also having a very good season. Morris has run for 658 yards and scored five touchdowns. Griffin's main target Fred Davis (24 catches, 325 yards) is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Washington signed former Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley to replace Davis. Griffin still has old pro Santana Moss (19 catches) and Leonard Hankerson.
The Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-17 at Cincinnati last weekend. The defense allowed 185 yards.
All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu has been ruled out of the Redskin game due to a recurring calf injury.
While Griffin accumulates more headlines, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is quietly having a superb season. Big Ben has completed 66 percent of his passes. He's tossed 11 touchdowns and had only three of his passes picked off.
"Ben's so good at making plays when everything shuts down, "said Redskin coach Mike Shanahan. "When you take a look at his third-down conversation rate, I think that proves everything about the guy that he's going to find a way to make a play."
Jonathon Dwyer filled in nicely for starter Rashard Mendenhall against Cincinnati. He gained 122 yards on the ground and caught two passes. Mendenhall is likely to play this weekend.
The Redskin defense has been able to stop the run, but not the pass. The unit is allowing only 85.3 yards on the ground, but the secondary has been inconsistent, allowing 328 yards per game.
Linebacker London Fletcher could miss Sunday's game due to a sore hamstring.
The Steelers defense ranks high if you look only at yards gained. But when you look at how opponents turn yards into points against the Steelers, they rank 30th in the NFL ahead of only the Titans, Raiders and Chiefs! Don't be fooled by the yardage stats. This Steelers defense is far from a "Steel Curtain". They gave up 31 points to Denver, 34 to the Raiders and 26 to the Titans. The Redskins can move the bal and figure to give the Steelers fits. We can't pass up the points here with with a Redskins team on the rise against a Steelers team in decline. Redskins +4.5
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