Steelers Lose First Game of 2020 to Washington

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers spent three months flirting with perfection, insisting on a regular basis they had been removed from flawless.

They weren’t flawed. Pittsburgh’s bid for an unbeaten season is over. Washington’s bid for an unlikely title in a lackluster division may be starting.

Alex Smith threw for 296 yards and a landing, Dustin Hopkins kicked a tiebreaking 45-yard subject purpose with two minutes, 4 seconds remaining within the fourth quarter, and Washington beat the Steelers, 23-17, on Monday at Heinz Subject.

Pittsburgh (11-1) missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth and dropped right into a tie with defending champion Kansas Metropolis for the highest spot within the A.F.C. with 4 video games remaining.

A day after the first-place Giants (5-7) pulled an upset in opposition to the Seahawks, Washington (5-7) stored tempo within the N.F.C. East by rallying from 14 factors right down to win in Pittsburgh for the primary time since 1991.

Washington gained 14 regular-season video games and the Tremendous Bowl that season. The membership’s expectations this 12 months are much more modest in Coach Ron Rivera’s first season in Washington.

Not so in Pittsburgh, which bought off to the very best begin within the franchise’s 87-year historical past even because the offense sometimes labored in matches and spurts. In a recreation pushed again a day as a part of the fallout from as a result of a coronavirus outbreak that pressured the N.F.L. to reschedule Baltimore’s Week 12 go to to Heinz Subject thrice, the little errors Pittsburgh managed to get away with for 11 video games turned an excessive amount of to beat.

Ben Roethlisberger handed for 305 yards and two touchdowns, however he was intercepted by Jon Bostic — a former Steeler — with 1:59 remaining. Hopkins added one other 45-yard subject purpose to assist shut out the sport.

Pittsburgh reached midfield on its ultimate possession needing a landing to tie, however time ran out.

The Steelers seemed to be in agency management after Roethlisberger discovered James Washington for a 50-yard landing within the second quarter that put them up 14-0. Pittsburgh is generally invincible at Heinz Subject when up two scores. Not this time.

Smith, beneath heavy strain a lot of the night time, lastly bought one thing going late within the first half. A Hopkins subject purpose bought the group on the board within the ultimate seconds. A 1-yard landing run by Peyton Barber halfway by means of the third quarter pulled Washington inside 14-10, and a lob from Smith to a wide-open Logan Thomas for a 15-yard landing tied it within the fourth quarter.

Pittsburgh drove into subject purpose vary however fairly than have fill-in Matthew Wright — promoted from the follow squad as a result of an harm to Chris Boswell — try a 45-yard subject purpose into the open finish of the stadium, the Steelers went for it on fourth down. Roethlisberger’s heave to rookie working again Anthony McFarland Jr. fell incomplete, and Smith calmly drove Washington 45 yards in 9 performs to arrange the profitable rating.

Washington will journey to Arizona subsequent week to tackle the San Francisco 49ers, who’re enjoying on the Cardinals’ stadium as a result of coronavirus-related restrictions in Santa Clara, Calif., pressured them to relocate.

After their first lack of the season, the Steelers face a stiff check subsequent Sunday night time in Buffalo.

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