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Polamalu and Gilbert out for Sunday's game vs. Washington

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 6:36 p.m.
Steelers strong saftey Troy Polamalu on the sideline at LP Stadium Oct. 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Center Maurkice Pouncey (knee) is expected to resume practicing Wednesday, and running back Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) is close to returning, but the Steelers will be without safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) Sunday against Washington.

Polamalu will miss his third consecutive game and his fifth of the season. Gilbert could be out several more weeks. Pouncey left in the first quarter of the Titans game Oct. 11 and was held out Sunday in Cincinnati.

• By limiting Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to 105 yards passing, the Steelers (3-3) moved up to No. 2 defensively in the NFL and No. 2 against the pass. They are ninth in rushing defense. Offensively, they advanced from 31st to 26th in rushing and are sixth in passing. They continue to lead the league in third-down efficiency (53.8 percent). Shaun Suisham (14 of 15) is one of five kickers with at least 15 attempts and only one miss.

• When he was in Denver, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan always seemed to find a 1,000-yard rusher on his roster. Alfred Morris could be the latest. A sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, Morris leads the NFC with 658 yards. “He is a downhill runner, and he runs hard,” coach Mike Tomlin said. Morris is playing for the rookie minimum of $390,000 and still drives a 1991 Mazda his pastor sold him for $2.

• The Redskins offense revolves around rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who runs a triple-option offense that is even more college-like than the one he ran at Baylor. “He was more of a pocket guy and passer in college and really created what he did in the running game through broken plays,” Tomlin said. “This is a pistol attack, an option attack, a designed running attack. I don't remember that about his Baylor tape.”

• Griffin's unique mix of running ability and a strong throwing arm make him difficult to prepare for, yet Tomlin doesn't want the Steelers being passive defensively. “We've got to attack and play to our personality and, hopefully, reduce what he is capable of doing or at least minimize it,” Tomlin said.

• Tomlin isn't quite ready to excuse Mike Wallace's three dropped passes in Cincinnati, even though Wallace had only one previous drop. “What I'm concerned about is the result and, obviously, the result is not what we're looking for,” Tomlin said.

— Alan Robinson

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