Griffin III shut down in 27-12 loss to Steelers
PITTSBURGH (AP) — His team lost by two touchdowns and his precocious rookie quarterback had the worst statistical game of his young career.
Still, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan came away after Washington's 27-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers "encouraged" and "excited."
The way Shanahan saw it, any chance Robert Griffin III had at success on a soggy Sunday at Heinz Field slipped through his receiver's fingertips.
Time and time again.
The Redskins dropped 10 passes, effectively ruining the stat line for Griffin on a day he finished 16 for 34 for 177 yards and a touchdown.
"You can't have that many drops that we had and keep drives going," Shanahan said. "I don't care where the (ball) placement is, as long as it hits your hand, you better catch it or else you won't be in the National Football League for very long."
Tough words from the veteran coach for his receivers. But Shanahan had only praise for Griffin, who posted a season low in passing yardage and was held to just 8 yards rushing.
"I'm very encouraged," Shanahan said of the Redskins being 3-5 halfway through the season. "I'm very excited. When you get a guy, as a quarterback, that can do what he's done in the first half of the season where he's one of the top passers and top rushers offensively ..."
Playing in 1934 throwback uniforms that made certain players resemble hulking bumblebees, Pittsburgh improved to 14-1 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004, doing to Griffin what they've done to the likes of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco.
"It is very frustrating," Griffin said. "You want to go out, be successful, execute plays and have everything work for you and then when you have a day like today when you have almost nothing work for you."
Ben Roethlisberger torched Washington's depleted defense, throwing for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Steelers (4-3) won consecutive games for the first time this season.
Jonathan Dwyer added 107 yards rushing in his second NFL start. Pittsburgh jumped on Washington early, scoring on its first four possessions and never letting Griffin get loose.
Washington ran for a season-low 86 yards, while Griffin's longest run came on a seven-yard sprint in the first quarter.
"He wasn't running all over the place," Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote said. "The front seven got challenged by (Steelers coach) Mike (Tomlin) all week and they delivered."
Heath Miller caught four passes for 46 yards and his sixth touchdown of the season for the Steelers, who suddenly look like their normal selves in a wide-open AFC.
Pittsburgh marched into Washington territory during seven of its nine drives.
"We have the talent and the ability to play with anybody and to come out and just get your butt flat-out whooped, as a professional and somebody who's a competitor, that always (stinks)," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said.
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