The Burgundy and Gold technically won Monday night’s Preseason Game with Pittsburgh 24-13…but lost five players with injuries during a contest that only counts in ticket sales, parking receipts and concession sales. All while the face of their franchise continues to push for more snaps, even before he might be ready. Giveaways and takeaways from Skins-Steelers:

Rg3ver is a longterm epidemic– welcome to six months of being held hostage by one man’s knee. Robert Griffin III’s daily status has been the focal point for the last few weeks…and his desire to be on the field conflicting with the cautionary route the team is taking. This will be the elephant in the room until he gets hurt again or goes unharmed through an entire season. Even then it’ll only be a temporary respite: if he gets hurt in 2014 we’ll return to the daily diagnosis.

Hurtin’ Cousins– the Burgundy and Gold lost their backup QB for the rest of the preseason with a sprained foot that had the Fed Ex Faithful holding their collective breath: the good news is it wasn’t the same Lisfranc injury that ended Phillip Thomas’ season. The bad news is fewer game reps for the likely starter if RG3 can’t go on opening night.

Turnoverasaurus Rex Returns– just when you thought the monster was extinct, #8 delivers a fumble and an interception. But didn’t he look sharp on that TD pass to Leonard Hankerson? His August numbers? Completing 20 of 34 passes for 252 yards, 2 TD’s and an INT (82.3 rating). Lukewarm never felt so good. Now he has to focus on staying healthy until Griffin and Cousins return– could you imagine Postmaster General Pat White taking the Oath opening night against Philadelphia?

Alfred the Limited– as opposed to Alfred the Absent in week one. Mr. Morris shoots another cameo, notching 4 carries for 12 yards before letting the rest of the cast carry the episode. Felt like the kind of show where the lead is “away visiting relatives” and calls in at the beginning and end of the episode–usually while the actor/actress is filming a movie. The key– no accidental running into the oil well that’s underneath Fed Ex Field.

Hello Helu! and Williams: from Wow to Walking Wounded– Roy Helu Jr. 30 yard scamper for a score in the fourth quarter provided a nice exclamation point…while Keiland carries the ball 8 times for 39 yards before leaving the game with a knee injury. Perhaps a window opens for rookie Chris Thompson…

Wounded Wideouts– Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson leave with injuries; Hankerson hurting his knee… Robinson suffering a thigh injury. The scramble in the depth chart behind the firm of Garcon, Morgan and Moss begins.

Third Down and Out– the Skins converted 2 of 9 third down attempts…neither Cousins (0-2), Grossman (1-4) or White (1-3) had much success moving the chains. As a team they converted 2 of 3 short yardage (3 yds or less), went 0-3 on 3rd and medium (4-6 yards needed) and 0-3 on 3rd and long (7+ yards). Eight passes to one run on third down: and the one run was the 30 yard Helu scamper for a score. But this is where we play the ever so popular “this is only preseason” card.

The Bakery is Open– FOUR TURNOVERS (two fumbles, two interceptions) contributed to a somewhat sloppy evening. Two came from the Turnoverasaurus himself, one was an INT tossed by Pat White and the other was a fumble lost by rookie Chris Thompson. Good thing the Steelers turned the ball over three times…including one that resulted in an INT return for a score.

Devastating Defense…as Kerrigan and Kehl are Key– holding Tennessee in check is one thing…limiting Pittsburgh to 1 of 13 on third down is another. Sacking the Steelers four times is another thing…Ryan Kerrigan forcing a fumble while sacking Bruce Gradkowski is another thing…and
Kerrigan returning an interception for a touchdown provided a nice first quarter highlight at Fed Ex Field. Fellow linebacker Bryan Kehl led the team with 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 QB hits. Unfortunately Barry Cofield leaves with a hand injury…another hit to shrinking front seven.

Tracking the Triumvirate II– with Phillip Thomas done for the season, the secondary rookie trio drafts Chase Minnifield as his replacement…and the former Virginia Cavalier doesn’t disappoint. After missing two years with knee injuries, Minnifield notches 5 tackles against the Steelers…as David Amerson added 2 stops despite being turned around a few times by Pittsburgh receivers. Bacarri Rambo tallied one tackle and spent an evening not getting faked out of his shorts…which is progress.

Limiting the Laundry– while the seven penalties is four fewer than the team drew in Tennessee… six of those flags came in the first half. Two of the three unnecessary roughness penalties went to DeJon Gomes…and two holding flags are less than ideal (Tyler Polumbus, Niles Paul). Still, a step in the right direction–with all eyes on Saturday’s game.

Sweep that Leg, Cobra Kai– the Redskins kicker continues to dominate as though he’s wearing a skeleton costume and the uprights are dressed like a shower: Mr. Forbath made 38 yard field goal plus all 3 extra points. I’ll let you know when he’s made enough.

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