for this game

Leftwich unlikely hero as Steelers squash Redskins

Nov 4, 2008 - 6:53 AM
LANDOVER, Maryland (Ticker) -- Byron Leftwich got an unexpected chance to shine in his hometown - and he beat the team he grew up rooting for.

Leftwich threw for 129 yards and a touchdown in the second half in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, and the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense stymied the Washington Redskins en route to a 23-6 victory on Monday.

A Washington, D.C. native, Leftwich completed 7-of-10 passes and led a pair of touchdown drives after Roethlisberger left with a right shoulder injury just prior to halftime.

Leftwich had mixed emotions about playing his hometown team.

"I grew up a Redskins fan," Leftwich said. "I don't really like playing the Redskins."

His team sure liked the results, though.

"Byron Leftwich came home to D.C. tonight and put together a winning performance for us and he is a popular guy right now in that locker room," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

"I have no update on Ben (Roethlisberger) at this point, I'm sure I will have more information at the press conference tomorrow. Potentially he was capable of going back in the game, but we went down the field with Leftwich there to start the second half. We will see how it is in the morning."

Willie Parker ran for 70 yards and a TD and Santonio Holmes hauled in a score for Pittsburgh (6-2), which held Washington (6-3) to just 3-of-15 on third down conversions.

None of the Steelers were surprised by Leftwich.

"Byron is an experienced player," said Parker, who had missed the previous four games with a knee injury. "He is not new to this. Nobody was surprised by how well Byron came out and played tonight. Ben went down and Byron seamlessly came in and did what he had to do."

"Byron has been a starter in this league before," said linebacker James Harrison, who had 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks. "He practices every week like he is going to help this team win in the next game. So he did the job we expected him to do."

Pittsburgh's second-ranked defense played a big role in the win as well, holding the Redskins to 221 total yards.

The Steelers recorded seven sacks and held Clinton Portis, the league's leading rusher, to just 51 yards on 13 carries. It was no small feat, considering that Portis had run for over 120 yards in five straight games.

"It started with stopping Clinton for us," Tomlin said. "That was our focus."

"That don't matter, man," Portis said of the Redskins' upcoming bye week. "Not coming out and playing the way we should have played - knowing we had a bye week - we didn't go out and display the effort we should have."

Pittsburgh also forced Jason Campbell's first interception in 250 attempts and ended the Redskins' NFL record of most games without a pick (12) and most pass attempts (379) without an interception. Campbell was 24-of-43 for 206 yards and two interceptions.

"Every week these guys get faced with a test," Tomlin said. "The No. 1 rushing offense (the New York Giants) the week before, and came back against the No. 2 offense (with) Clinton Portis tonight."

"They were relentless the whole night. I asked myself, 'Are we going to get a break at all?'" Campbell said. "They wouldn't bend at all."

While the defense was suffocating, the star was Leftwich, who sparked the Steelers' stagnant offense. He was forced into action after Roethlisberger headed to the locker room following a 1-yard score that put the Steelers up, 10-6, with 35 seconds left in the half.

Roethlisberger struggled mightily prior to leaving, going 5-for-17 for 50 yards and an interception. The injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Leftwich looked as if he had been playing all season.

On his first pass attempt, Leftwich hit Nate Washington for 50 yards to the Redskins' 11-yard line.

That set up a 1-yard score by Parker that put the Steelers up, 16-6, with 10:26 left in the third.

"No stage or situation is too big for Byron Leftwich," Tomlin said. "He's got that eerie calm."

Trailing by 10 in the third quarter, Washington forced Pittsburgh to punt twice and responded with its best drive to that point.

Campbell led the Redskins to the Steelers' 30-yard line, but his pass to Portis was tipped an intercepted by Deshea Townsend with 3:41 left in the quarter.

"Any time a ball gets tipped in the air in the NFL, more times than not, it's going to get intercepted," Campbell said.

"We talked about it (Campbell's streak) before the game," Townsend said. "At that point in the game, they were still in it, so it was big for us."

Leftwich sealed the win by leading a 12-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by a 5-yard TD strike Holmes that made it 23-6 with 12:04 remaining. It was the first game back for Holmes, who was suspended one-game by the team after being arrested for possession of marijuana last week.

Shaun Suisham kicked a pair of field goals for Washington, which became the first NFC East team to lose to Pittsburgh this season.

The Redskins' first three drives began in Pittsburgh's territory, but they could only muster six points. The Steelers opened the game with a surprise onside kick, but it did not come back to haunt them.

"We had such great field position early in the ballgame," Washington head coach Jim Zorn said. "We kept having to start over, and those were very frustrating points in the game."

A blocked punt by Andre Frazier set up Roethlisberger's score just before halftime.








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 10 6 7 23
    WASHINGTON 6 0 0 0 6 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WAS - FG, SHAUN SUISHAM 44 YD, 2:03. Drive: 4
    plays, 9 yards in 2:03. Key plays:
    Fincher recovery of onside kick
    plus 5-yard offsides penalty on
    Steelers' Gay to Pittsburgh 36.
    WASHINGTON 3-

    Nov 3 11:50 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    SANTONIO HOLMES 5 YD PASS FROM BYRON LEFTWICH
    (JEFF REED KICK)
    PITTSBURGH 23
    WASHINGTON 6 11:58 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Steelers 23, Washington 6  4th - 11:58Nov 3 11:10 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 10 6 16
    WASHINGTON 6 0 0 6 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WAS - FG, SHAUN SUISHAM 44 YD, 2:03. Drive: 4
    plays, 9 yards in 2:03. Key plays:
    Fincher recovery of onside kick
    plus 5-yard offsides penalty on
    Steelers' Gay to Pittsburgh 36.
    WASHIN

    Nov 3 11:00 PM
  • 45
    roots
    gerbo321 Added 5 roots

    Steelers 16, Washington 6  3rd - 10:22Nov 3 10:33 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    WILLIE PARKER 1 YD RUN
    (PAT FAILED)
    PITTSBURGH 16
    WASHINGTON 6 10:22 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Steelers 16, Washington 6  3rd - 10:22Nov 3 10:32 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 10 10
    WASHINGTON 6 0 6 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WAS - FG, SHAUN SUISHAM 44 YD, 2:03. Drive: 4
    plays, 9 yards in 2:03. Key plays:
    Fincher recovery of onside kick
    plus 5-yard offsides penalty on
    Steelers' Gay to Pittsburgh 36.
    WASHINGTON

    Nov 3 10:09 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    BEN ROETHLISBERGER 1 YD RUN
    (JEFF REED KICK)
    PITTSBURGH 10
    WASHINGTON 6 0:32 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Steelers 10, Washington 6  2nd - 0:32Nov 3 10:07 PM
  • 40
    roots
    alamowx Added 5 roots

    Steelers 3, Washington 6  2nd - 0:54Nov 3 10:06 PM


  • NFL
    FG PIT
    JEFF REED 35 YD
    PITTSBURGH 3
    WASHINGTON 6 8:09 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Steelers 3, Washington 6  2nd - 8:09Nov 3 9:44 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    WASHINGTON 6 6 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WAS - FG, SHAUN SUISHAM 44 YD, 2:03. Drive: 4
    plays, 9 yards in 2:03. Key plays:
    Fincher recovery of onside kick
    plus 5-yard offsides penalty on
    Steelers' Gay to Pittsburgh 36.
    WASHIN

    Nov 3 9:22 PM
  • 35
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Steelers 0, Washington 6  1st - 4:33Nov 3 9:12 PM


  • NFL
    FG WAS
    SHAUN SUISHAM 43 YD
    PITTSBURGH 0
    WASHINGTON 6 11:02 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Steelers 0, Washington 6  1st - 11:02Nov 3 8:51 PM
  • 30
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Steelers 0, Washington 3  1st - 12:51Nov 3 8:48 PM


  • NFL
    FG WAS
    SHAUN SUISHAM 44 YD
    PITTSBURGH 0
    WASHINGTON 3 12:57 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Steelers 0, Washington 3  1st - 12:57Nov 3 8:45 PM
  • 25
    roots
    RmSvc Added 5 roots

    Steelers vs. WashingtonNov 3 1:49 PM
  • 20
    roots
    Fabs1788 Added 5 roots

    Steelers vs. WashingtonNov 3 1:46 PM
  • 15
    roots
    Lemonman Added 5 roots

    Steelers vs. WashingtonNov 1 9:30 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Nomadictrooper Added 5 roots

    Steelers vs. WashingtonOct 28 11:00 PM
  • 5
    roots
    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Steelers vs. WashingtonJul 6 3:45 PM