The Washington Redskins have caught some flak for not shadowing Antonio Brown with high-priced cornerback Josh Norman.
Antonio Brown, who is widely regarded as the best wide receiver in the National Football League, had a fantastic game on Monday night, hauling in eight catches for 126 yards and two scores.
If Monday night's season-opening 38-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers serves as any indication of things to come this season, the Redskins could wind up paying the price for their neglect up front.
That led to Hopkins' second field goal of the quarter, from 40 yards, for a 6-0 Washington lead. We've got to get our running game going to take some pressure off the quarterback.
"Well it allows us to dictate the coverage", Brown said. His inability to make plays is a real problem for a defense that is looking for playmakers at linebacker.
So much for early concerns about the Pittsburgh Steelers, who made good on one of head coach Mike Tomlin's favorite coaching mantras. "We didn't have any control over how they utilize Norman".
"We just gave up some runs that we don't typically give up", defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said.
Cousins went 30 of 43 for 329 yards, which doesn't seem very bad at first glance. "The way [Will Compton], Norman and [DeAngelo Hall] can do their jobs, we've got to pass rush and we've got to stop the ball".
He trusted his guys to make plays in big moments, no matter who they might be. Rodgers finished 6 catches for 59 yards receiving and 1 touchdown. Pittsburgh was able to limit Washington's streaky quarterback Kirk Cousins from making plays to his impressive corps of receivers. Chris Thompson scored Washington's only touchdown of the game on a 1 yard rush.
Davis had four tackles, three solo, and he was not taken advantage of in the least by a fleet of accomplished Washington receivers. Before that, he turned a fourth-and-one play into a 29-yard touchdown.
"You can't say enough about DeAngelo and his performance but we've come to expect that from him", Tomlin said.
Midway through the third quarter, Cousins' first home interception at FedEx Field in 253 pass attempts was quickly turned into Pittsburgh points.
Washington gained only 55 yards on the ground.
Williams rushed for 143 yards on 26 carries, while second-year receiver Rogers had six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. DeAngelo Williams had 149 yards on the ground and averaged 5.5 yards per carry against a Redskins defense that struggled against the run a year ago. Cousins again drove the Redskins into Steelers territory, but had to settle for another field goal to extend their lead to 6-0.
Pittsburgh must have been listening, since the Steelers moved Brown to Breeland's side nearly exclusively on the decisive plays of the second half.
"They had momentum the early part of the game", Tomlin sad.