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Big Ben, Steelers outplay Redskins

| Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, 2:34 p.m.
The Steelers' Larry Foote sacks Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer stiff-arms the Redskins' London Fletcher in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Field judge Jon Lucivansky (left) and line judge John Hussey hold back the Redskins' DeAngelo Hall from head linesman Dana Mckenzie in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Hall was ejected from the game. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
A yellow flag lays in the background as the Steelers' Antonio Brown beats Redskins punter Sav Rocca in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Brown returned the punt for a touchdown, but it was called back for a block in the back. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' offensive line blocks for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Redskins on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger cuts back on the Redskins' Perry Riley in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons pursues Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner
Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer takes a handoff from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the third quarter against Washington Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey snaps to Ben Roethlisberger during the third quarter against the Redskins, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
The Steelers' Leonard Pope scores past Keenan Robinson during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Steelers tight end Heath Miller bowls over Washington's DeAngelo Hall during the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Steelers linebacker Larry Foote celebrates after stopping Washington for a loss during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers defender Will Allen pressures Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. The Steelers won, 27-12. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Christopher Horner
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass during the third quarter against Washington Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Mike Wallace stretches out a second quarter reception as he is brought down by Redskins defender Josh Wilson Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. The play set up a touchdown, and the Steelers went on to win, 27-12. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown runs past the Redskins' DeAngelo Hall and Cedric Friffin (20) in the second quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Steelers receiver Mike Wallace catches a pass against Washington's Madieau Williams during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Steelers fullback Will Johnson celebrates his touchdown reception during the third quarter against Washington on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers tight end Heath Miller scores a second-quarter touchdown against the Redskins on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)
The Steelers' Keenan Lewis breaks up a second-quarter pass intended for the Redskins' Dezmon Briscoe on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III is brought down by the Steelers' Ryan Clark and Ziggy Hood during the second quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

A perplexed Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins headed into the eye of a hurricane back home, courtesy of Sandy. It probably felt much like the one they encountered in Pittsburgh, courtesy of Dick LeBeau.

Griffin, the NFL's youngest superstar, looked a bit weather-beaten after spending a gloomy Sunday in Heinz Field dodging the raindrops and a good-old-days Steelers defense that was as relentless as a Nor'easter during Pittsburgh's 27-12 win.

Rookie quarterbacks are 1-14 against LeBeau-coached Steelers defenses, and not even Griffin — who came in among the NFL leaders in passing and rushing — could figure out how to escape the ever-changing pressure and never-let-go containment.

“It was very frustrating,” Griffin said.

As Griffin's head-on-a-swivel pass receivers dropped wet ball after wet ball — 10 drops by coach Mike Shanahan's count — Ben Roethlisberger dinked and dunked the Redskins' league-worst passing defense by throwing three touchdown passes, not one to a wide receiver.

Subtract Griffin and the “Madden NFL 13”-like numbers he has been piling up this season, throw in a 107-yard game by Jonathan Dwyer, and it added up to the Steelers' second consecutive win, one that inched them to within a game of idle Baltimore (5-2) in the AFC North.

Their season seemingly in jeopardy only a week ago when they won at Cincinnati to avoid going 2-4, the Steelers (4-3) suddenly have the look of a team on the rise heading into Sunday's game at the reigning Super Bowl champion Giants.

“It was nice to get a definitive win,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “It feels like the way we've gotten wins here in the past.”

This was like nothing in his recent past to RGIII, who managed all of 3 yards rushing until late in the game. He ended with 8 yards on six carries, or 219 fewer than he had in his previous two games.

“We wanted to make sure he didn't get outside the defense,” linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. “Our job is to make sure the runners stay inside and let the other 10 guys come in and make the play.”

Roethlisberger was spreading the ball among nine receivers in going 24 of 33 for 222 yards — he wasn't sacked, either — and Griffin was 16 of 34 passing for 177 yards, getting sacked once and hit a half-dozen times.

Not that he got much help from his receivers, who seemed to sense the Steelers' presence whenever they got near a pass.

“If a guy's trying to catch the ball and turning his head around to see who's there, and guys are flying around and hitting people, you're going to have that,” linebacker James Harrison said of the drops.

The Steelers' offense, much like it was in Cincinnati, was steady and efficient while mounting three touchdown drives of 74 yards or longer. It started with a game-opening series that featured Roethlisberger's 25-yard completion to Heath Miller and ended with his 1-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope, who caught only his second pass all season.

The only time the Redskins made a push came when Griffin hit Santana Moss on a 2-yard touchdown pass to cut it to 10-6 early in the second quarter. Ziggy Hood blocked Kai Forbath's extra point.

Roethlisberger immediately answered with a 74-yard drive finished off by his 7-yard scoring pass to Miller — the 37th touchdown catch of his career, tying Elbie Nickel's team record for a tight end.

“The sky is the limit for this offense when we're on and getting after guys. That's more of our identity,” left guard Willie Colon said. “We've got Superman at quarterback, we know that. We just have to do our job, and everything is going to go.”

Griffin? He looked nothing like a superhero. Then again, LeBeau defenses have a way of doing that to the newest and the best.

“You don't take anything away from a Steelers defense,” Griffin said.

On the most exasperating day of his short career, Griffin certainly didn't.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

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