Meadville Tribune

Sports

August 19, 2013

NFL: Redskins top Steelers 24-13

LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III’s surgeon ended up tending to Griffin’s backup.

Le’Veon Bell got hurt again.

There were 15 penalties and seven turnovers, including a sequence of three giveaways in five plays.

What a mess it was when the Washington Redskins beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-13 Monday night.

Good thing the preseason doesn’t count, except when it hurts.

Kirk Cousins, the insurance policy in case Griffin isn’t ready for the Redskins’ regular-season opener, sprained his right foot early in the second quarter.

Bell, the second-round pick who was supposed to have the inside track on the up-for-grabs Steelers running back job, hurt his right foot in the first quarter, another injury to go with the sore left knee that kept him out of Pittsburgh’s preseason opener.

Griffin didn’t play, even though he suited up again in his yearning to get on his field as he makes his way back from reconstructive right knee surgery.

He’s been cleared by Dr. James Andrews for practice, but not for games.

Andrews, owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen chatted before the game while Griffin was warming up, and no doubt a prime topic was the protocol for determining whether last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year will be ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 9.

Griffin raised eyebrows when he dressed in full uniform before the preseason opener at Tennessee on Aug. 8, even though he knew he wasn’t going to play. He did the same Monday night, right down to the bulky black brace on his right knee.

Earlier, he walked onto the field wearing a white T-shirt with the words “OPERATION PATIENCE,” his ad hoc theme throughout training camp meant to temper his unhappiness with coach Mike Shanahan’s cautious practice plan.

Cousins started and went 2 for 3 for 19 yards before he got injured the same way Griffin did during a game last season — while getting tackled at the end of a run.

He grabbed his right foot after being dragged down along the sideline by linebacker Lawrence Timmons and was examined by Andrews before walking to the locker room.

The Steelers were so anxious to see what Bell could do that they gave him the ball on the first four offensive plays of the game. The ex-Michigan State back gained 4, 3, 1 and 2 yards, left the game and never returned.

The trainers for both teams stayed busy.

Steelers fullback Will Johnson left with a rib injury and running back Baron Batch had a stinger. Redskins receivers Aldrick Robinson (left thigh) and Leonard Hankerson (right knee), defensive tackle Barry Cofield (right hand) and running back Keiland Williams (left knee) were also among the ailing.

The hands-down star of the game was Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who made a juggling interception of a screen pass from Ben Roethlisberger and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.

Later, Kerrigan stripped Roethlisberger’s backup, Bruce Gradkowski, to force another turnover.

With Griffin and Cousins not available, Rex Grossman took advantage of the extra playing time and completed 10 of 16 passes for 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The TD pass was 10 yards over the middle to Hankerson, who reached high to make a one-handed catch.

Roethlisberger completed 5 of 6 passes for 66 yards before giving way to Gradkowski early in the second quarter.

The Steelers got their only touchdown in the fourth quarter when rookie Landry Jones hit Derek Moye for a 10-yard score.

Both coaches will have plenty of teachable moments from the game video.

The Redskins committed three personal foul penalties for the second straight game — including two Monday on safety DeJon Gomes — and have been whistled for 18 total penalties in two games.

The Steelers ruined a promising drive deep in Washington territory with a hands-to-the-face penalty on center Maurice Pouncey and a holding call on left tackle Mike Adams, two of Pittsburgh’s eight penalties.

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