Things got off to an ominous start when running back Le’Veon Bell left with an injured foot after the first series of the game and they only went downhill from there for the Steelers starting offense.
The unit, which remained on the field for the entire first half except for a change from Ben Roethlisberger to Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback, turned the ball over three times and saw Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan wreak havoc along the line of scrimmage. Kerrigan pressured Roethlisberger a few times, scored a touchdown after picking off an attempted pass to the flat and then stripped Gradkowski on a later sack.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer also fumbled for the Steelers after running into tight end David Paulson and getting stripped of the ball as he tried to regain his footing. They also lost fullback Will Johnson to a rib injury when he was hit by safety DeJon Gomes on a play that was flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver.
While there were mistakes on several fronts, the play of the offensive line should be the most concerning to the Steelers moving forward. Dwyer had a few strong runs, but the biggest pass plays while Roethlisberger was in the game came as the quarterback did his trademark job of extending the play despite pressure seeping through the protection. There were also four penalties on offensive linemen to round out a performance that is sure to make for an uncomfortable film session later this week.