Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game Eight vs. Redskins

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Game ball goes to: Byron Leftwich

All he did was replace an injured ??? and ineffective ??? Ben Roethlisberger at the start of the second half and lead the Steelers to two touchdowns with a number of big plays, particularly on third down. The first was a 50-yard completion to Nate Washington to the Redskins 11 on the first series of the third quarter to set up a touchdown. Then, he converted three third-down plays, the biggest a 16-yarder to Santonio Holmes on third-and-15, on a 12-play drive that ended with a nice 5-yard TD to Holmes. Leftwich finished 7 of 10 for 129 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

The countdown

A quick look at the top performances from last night's victory:

1. ANDRE FRAZIER'S BLOCKED PUNT: The Steelers were struggling on offense, in particular, QB Ben Roethlisberger, and looked as if they would be trailing, 6-3, at halftime. But Frazier fought through a block on the right side and blocked Ryan Plackemeier's punt from the Redskins 36, enabling William Gay to recover at the 13 with 2:11 remaining. The block was the first in two years by the special teams and it seemed to energize the offense, which needed just four plays to convert the turnover into a touchdown and a 10-6 lead.

2. BYRON LEFTWICH'S 50-YARD PASS TO NATE WASHINGTON: After three running plays to start the second half, Leftwich's first pass of the game was a 50-yarder to Nate Washington -- his fourth catch of 48 yards or longer in the past four games. It set up Willie Parker's 1-yard TD for a 16-6 lead.

3. LEFTWICH'S PASS TO HOLMES ON THIRD-AND-15: This was the biggest of Leftwich's third-down conversions because it came from the Steelers 18. Leftwich's bullet pass to the sideline not only kept a scoring drive alive, it kept the Redskins from changing momentum.

4. DESHEA TOWNSEND'S INTERCEPTION: After falling behind, 16-6, the Redskins came back on the ensuing series and drove to the Steelers 23. But Townsend intercepted Campbell for the first time this season, catching a tipped pass that the Steelers turned into another touchdown.

5. ROETHLISBERGER'S 14-YARD PASS TO HINES WARD: It was one of the few passes Roethlisberger completed in the first half, but it came on third-and-12 from the Redskins 15 and it set up Roethlisberger's sneak that gave the Steelers a 10-6 lead they never relinquished.

Inside the numbers: 271

That's the number of consecutive passes attempted by Redskins QB Jason Campbell without an interception, a streak that ended when Deshea Townsend picked off his tipped pass in the third quarter. Tyrone Carter added another in the final minute.

What was he thinking?

OK, the Steelers wanted to start fast against the Redskins and, yes, coach Mike Tomlin said he wanted to play aggressively. Still, his decision to try an onside kick on the opening kickoff backfired when the Redskins recovered at the Steelers 41 and CB William Gay was penalized an additional 5 yards for lining offside. The Redskins turned the gaffe into a field goal and a 3-0 lead. But, on this night, it was about the only way the Redskins were going to score against the Steelers' No. 1 ranked defense.


"Fast. Very physical. ... They were the No. 1 defense in the NFL and probably still are. They lived up to their billing. They're good."
-- Redskins coach Jim Zorn

Up next

VS. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, 4:15 P.M. SUNDAY: The Colts ended a two-game losing streak with an 18-15 victory against New England Sunday night. They have lost their past 12 games in Pittsburgh and 10 of the past 11 meetings overall, including playoffs.

X's and O's

For the second game in a row, CB Ike Taylor was handed a big defensive assignment -- shadow Redskins WR Santana Moss, who already had three 100-yard receiving games and three catches of 50 yards or longer this season. Moss, though, managed just two catches for 14 yards, both in the first half, and had several other passes broken up by Taylor before aggravating an injury. QB Jason Campbell's longest pass was 29 yards to RB Clinton Portis.


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