goes to: RB Jonathan Dwyer
Dwyer became the first Steelers player since Willie Parker, in September 2008, to post back-to-back 100-yard games after he rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries, an average of 6.3 yards per attempt. After the Steelers were one of two teams to not have a run longer than 20 yards after five games, Dwyer has had three in the past two games. His season-long 34-yard run on the first play of the second series set up a field goal. "In all reality, I'm just trying to solidify myself around here and around the league as well," Dwyer said.
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. POPE SELECTED: The Steelers wasted little time setting an offensive tone against the Redskins, scoring on their opening possession for the fourth time this season to take a 7-0 lead. But it was the manner in which they scored -- disdaining a field goal and converting a fourth down from the Redskins 1 into a touchdown pass to seldom-used TE Leonard Pope. "It was something I was thinking about all week," said Pope, who has just one other catch for 7 yards this season. "It was in the game plan and I knew it might be used."
2. TAKE THAT: Right after the Redskins scored to make it 10-6, the Steelers answered with a 76-yard drive that ended when Ben Roethlisberger stepped up to escape pressure and threw a 7-yard touchdown to Heath Miller in the back of the end zone, Miller's sixth TD this season.
3. LATE PLAY: Emmanuel Sanders averaged 18.7 yards on three catches, but his biggest play was a 27-yard catch-and-run on first down that quickly moved the Steelers into position for a field goal and a 20-6 lead right before halftime.
4. TRICK OR TREAT: Todd Haley pulled out another gadget play, using rookie RB Chris Rainey on a direct-snap play that gained 19 yards to the Redskins 2, setting up Roethlisberger's third TD pass -- a 1-yarder to FB Will Johnson.
5. DROPPED OPPORTUNITIES: Redskins receivers did not help rookie QB Robert Griffin III, dropping seven passes -- three by Santana Moss. The most obvious came when WR Leonard Hankerson dropped a pass at the Steelers 2 for what would have been a 22-yard TD
"It's nice. I don't think we've done that. It's nice to get a definitive win and stack a win. Hopefully, this will keep us going. It was Steelers weather and we had to play Steelers football."
-- DE Brett Keisel on getting a decisive victory
As he was running for what he thought was a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown, Antonio Brown turned around and ran the last 10 yards backward into the end zone. That celebratory act resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting, a penalty that was declined when the return was negated by an illegal block penalty. "I didn't know that was a penalty," Brown said. "I did the same thing in Oakland and I didn't get a flag. I was thinking it was cool. Now I know, and we won't see that again."
The Steelers scored on their first two possessions in three previous games this season (New York Jets, Oakland, Tennessee), but this was the first time they scored on their first four possessions. They managed two touchdowns and two Shaun Suisham field goals to take a 20-6 lead and did not punt until the end of the first half. "That helps a lot, especially going against a rookie quarterback who's really good," said safety Will Allen. "But a rookie quarterback is a rookie quarterback. It gave us a boost to play harder to sustain that lead throughout the game."
@ NEW YORK GIANTS, 4:25 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers (4-3) play the Giants (6-2) Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants lead the all-time series, 46-29-3, and have won four of the past six meetings. The Steelers won the previous meeting at Giants Stadium, 33-30, in 2004.