Been a long while since I've done a proper recap. Good thing it's preseason. Let's get back in the groove.
Le'Veon Bell opens the game with a few nice physical runs. A little bit of a scuffle breaks out after a play with David DeCastro right in the middle of it. I don't know about you, but I like having an interior lineman who puts his face right into a confrontation. Redskins take the penalty.
Brian Moorman gets the first punt of the week after following Drew Butler in Week 1.
Troy Polamalu blows up an otherwise-well-designed screen play. The front seven have some trouble putting pressure on Kirk Cousins (surprise, a Mike Shanahan team blocks well) but the defense forces a three and out.
Jonathan Dwyer finds himself in space facing DeAngelo Hall. Luckily for him, Dwyer jukes instead of murdering him. Ben gets sandwiched after Pouncey and DeCastro miss their blocks.
Ryan Kerrigan makes a really great play to blow up everything. He comes up around Marcus Gilbert, and sees Ben cock his arm for a throw to the flat. Kerrigan disengages with Gilbert, takes a step back, and jumps up with his arms in the air. Next thing you know, he's in the end zone. Really smart play by Kerrigan; can hardly fault the offense on that particular effort.
Le'Veon Bell is announced to have a foot injury that will end his night early. With Isaac Redman already on the mend from getting dinged up in practice, that leaves Jonathan Dwyer as the only healthy starting-level running back.
Steve McLendon makes a nice athletic play from the NT position to string out Alfred Morris and run the Shanahan Stretch out of bounds.
London Fletcher takes a shot at Ben after a feet-first slide and the Steelers end up getting penalized on the play. Some Redskins DB makes a selfish play to hit Antonio Brown late out of bounds after that, so the Steelers get their 15 extra yards anyway.
Ben pulls a little bit of magic out of his hat to avoid Ryan Kerrigan and finds David Paulson way down the sideline for a huge gain. Vintage Ben.
Maurkice Pouncey negates a nice gain by Baron Batch with a hands-to-the-face penalty. Mike Adams continues the penalty parade for the Steelers and they find themselves in 3rd & 18. Naturally, Jonathan Dwyer gets the handoff on a draw play. Shaun Suisham gets booed by fans in Washington.
I doubt he'll lose any sleep over it.
Kirk Cousins scrambles around for a while and slides for a decent gain. Ike Taylor avoids hitting him; maybe London Fletcher is taking notes. Timmons chases down Cousins and lands on his right foot making the tackle. Cousins heads to the sideline and Rex Grossman checks in.
Bruce Gradkowski takes over the rest of the starting offense. The offensive line gets smoked again and Gradkowski fumbles immediately.
Jarvis Jones gets excellent penetration and disrupts a toss to the running back. The ball flies backwards and five or six Steelers storm into the backfield. Jason Worilds mysteriously just stops and looks at it, but Ike Taylor picks it up and gets a few return yards out of it. Credit that team-wide tenacity to Mike Tomlin's influence. He coached the DBs for the fantastic 2002 Bucaneers and brought that ball-hawking tendency to Pittsburgh.
Anyway, Jon Dwyer fumbles. Rex Grossman unleashes the dragon.
Ike Taylor gets torched and takes an obvious pass interference penalty just to save the touchdown. Leonard Hankerson makes a beautful mid-leap catch for the eventual touchdown.
Will Johnson takes a shot to the head as he leans down for a pass. It's an extra fifteen yards.
Gradkowski looks fine in the backfield and makes good decisions with the football, but he doesn't seem to get any breaks until now. He gets in a rhythm and hits Emmanuel Sanders twice for long gains. Then he plunks the umpire. Oh well.
Shaun Suisham boots another field goal and Jon Gruden gushes about Heath Miller for a while.
Fine by me!
It's officially scrub o'clock after that. Steeler linebackers are on the field wearing numbers in the 40s. Someone is even wearing 47.
A good way to know you're getting cut is to be assigned Mel Blount's number in camp.
Rex Grossman and the Grossettes drive down and a get a field goal as the clock expires.
Best commercial of the season so far.
The best action anyone sees in the third quarter's opening minutes is Jon Gruden getting a birthday cake from some cheerleaders.
Bruce Gradkowski gets destroyed when Guy Whimper completely misses a block. Drew Butler comes on to punt and some cheap imitation Troy Polamalu commits some fair catch interference. Tomlin tries to argue the call for some reason.
This is Ross Ventrone. Ross Ventrone needs a haircut.
ESPN cuts away to an interview with Ben Roethlisberger and comes back when Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith picks off a pass. Landry Jones relieves Bruce Gradkowski and hands off to Jonathan Dwyer over and over.
The offense comes to a complete stop under Jones and the line has trouble opening holes for Jonathan Dwyer.
Finally, Jones shows us a play he can run when he finds Markus Wheaton way down the right sideline for a giant completion. He gets into a little bit of a rhythm but it gets derailed again when the offense fails to convert a 3rd & short.
The offense comes back out on 4th & 1 and Landry Jones makes a quick read and finds Derek Moye breaking away from his defender for a short touchdown.
At some point, Jon Gruden says the following:
"London Fletcher is 38 years old and has 16 years of intelligence!"
As if that isn't an absolutely terrifying sentence.
Shamarko Thomas lays his first career big hit and frees up a football. Steelers recover. Some penalties, drops, and general ineptitude lead to a quick punt. Oh well.
Pat White steps in at quarterback for the Redskins. Didn't he quit football after Ike Taylor hit him a few years ago?
At some point a punt bounces off Derek Moye's back and the Redskins recover it. It gets reversed due to some penalty. No one really understands or cares.
Devin Smith makes a great play to snag himself an interception while diving towards the sideline. Derek Moye catches a tipped pass shortly thereafter. Moye is getting noticed for the right reasons.
Markus Wheaton catches a ball and reverses his field. He runs about 40 yards total for a gain of nothing. Best to get that rookie stuff out of the way when the score doesn't matter. You can't run backwards in the pros.
The Redskins end up taking over on downs. They sit on the ball and time runs out.
-Le'Veon Bell is about one injury away from being permanently designated "The new Duce Staley" around here.
-Shamarko Thomas is making plays, but not early enough. It's one thing to get a big hit on some guy who will be selling DVD players in two weeks; it's another to make a play on an NFL player. He's going to have to find a way to impact the game.
-Markus Wheaton made nice decisions as a punt returner. A lot of fair catches, but then again, Sav Rocca is a good punter. There's a temptation to try and force a play in the preseason, but he's being patient and letting opportunities come to him. Hopefully we see him get a little bit more time with more of the starters on Saturday.
-Landry Jones has shown just about nothing so far. That's fine, because Bruce Gradkowski has looked reasonably good, but not many people are high on Jones and he isn't giving them much reason to change their minds.
-Speaking of Joneses, Jarvis is going to beat Jason Worilds for the starting job pretty soon. Worilds hasn't done much. Jarvis has forced turnovers.
-The offensive line, as a unit and as individuals, was abhorrent.
Dress rehearsal against Kansas City on Saturday.