As the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to our nation's capital to face the Washington Redskins in the rare early Monday Night Football game in a double header, the mid-Atlantic heat was a part of the game which would kick off the 2016 season for this inter-conference matchup.
Early in the game the result of both teams was anything but what was expected. The Redskins started with the football, and drove down the field with ease, as Kirk Cousins targeted Jordan Reed early and often for several first downs. The Steelers defense held strong, but forced a punt. As the Steelers high-powered offense took the field, and had a three-and-out.
Washington turned tremendous field position into a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. On Pittsburgh's next possession a miscommunication between Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Rogers saw a pass deflected and intercepted. Cousins again drove the Redskins into Steelers territory, but had to settle for another field goal to extend their lead to 6-0.
On Pittsburgh's next drive, the Steelers survived two potential turnovers. Ben Roethlisberger had the ball stripped out of his hands, only to have Maurkice Pouncey recover the football, and Antonio Brown lost the football, but was ruled an incomplete pass. Roethlisberger would hit Brown on a beautiful pass on a 4th and 1 to give the Steelers a 7-6 lead.
After forcing a turnover on downs, Pittsburgh went on a time-consuming drive which ended in a 1st and goal situation with 30 seconds left in the half. Roethlisberger's pass intended for Sammie Coates was deflected and directly into the awaiting hands of Eli Rogers. Chris Boswell's second point after made the score 14-6 at halftime.
To start the second half the Steelers started with the ball and picked up where they left off. Roethlisberger drove the team down the field, but stalled in Redskins territory, having to settle for a Chris Boswell 46-yard field goal to extend their lead 17-6. In an attempt to answer, Kirk Cousins threw an interception to Ryan Shazier, giving the ball back to the Steelers' offense.
What Pittsburgh did with the ball was more of the same. A balanced attack between runs by DeAngelo Williams and another pass from Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown for another Steelers score. After another Boswell point after, the Steelers lead extended to 24-6 midway through the third quarter.
The Redskins would answer with points, but it was in the form of another Dustin Hopkins field goal, this one from 34-yards, to cut the lead to 24-9. In the 4th quarter the Redskins offense came to life behind Cousins starting to drive the football down the football field. After several big completions, the Redskins drove 77-yards and scored their first touchdown to cut into the Pittsburgh lead 24-16.
The Steelers needed an answer, and they got a time-consuming drive of their own with several huge 3rd down conversions, but none larger than the Roethlisberger to Brown pass on 3rd and 19 which set up a DeAngelo Williams touchdown run. The Boswell point after gave Pittsburgh a 31-16 lead with 5:48 left in the 4th quarter.
Needing points, the Redskins were forced to go for it on 4th down, but the Steelers defense forced their second turnover on downs, giving the ball back to the Steelers who turned the possession into more points by way of another DeAngelo Williams touchdown. Boswell tacked on the extra point to make the score 38-16, which would end up being the final score.
The Steelers victory improves their record to 1-0, and they return to Pittsburgh with a short week ahead as the prepare for a Week 2 game against AFC North rivals Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field in Week 2.