x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Leftwich leads the way

Reserve quarterback Byron Leftwich helped guide the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 23-6 victory over the Washington Redskins.

The Washington Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh leaps for the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich during their game on Monday, which the Steelers won.
The Washington Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh leaps for the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich during their game on Monday, which the Steelers won.

Reserve quarterback Byron Leftwich filled in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger and helped guide the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 23-6 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday. Leftwich completed seven of 10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown after replacing Roethlisberger, who suffered an injury to his right shoulder and sat out the second half.

Steelers running back Willie Parker said: "Byron is an experienced player. He is not new to this. No one was surprised by how well Byron came out and played. "Ben went down and Byron seamlessly came in and did what he had to do." The victory kept the Steelers on top of the AFC North at 6-2, while the loss dropped the second-placed Redskins to 6-3 and further behind the New York Giants (7-1) in the NFC East.

Roethlisberger hit just five of 17 passes for 50 yards before hurting his throwing shoulder in the second quarter. He scored on a one-yard rushing touchdown with 32 seconds left in the first half to give the Steelers a 10-6 lead, but handed over to Leftwich at the start of the third quarter. Leftwich, a six-year NFL veteran who was born in Washington, made the most of his opportunity by guiding the Steelers on a 72-yard scoring march to open the second half.

"I knew I could play," said Leftwich. "I'm just happy that I got an opportunity." Parker's one-yard touchdown run gave Pittsburgh a 16-6 lead and the Steelers never looked back. The big play of the drive was a 50-yard strike from Leftwich to Nate Washington. The Redskins were unable to muster any consistent attack against the NFL's top-ranked defence. Quarterback Jason Campbell completed 24 of 43 passes for 206 yards, while Clinton Portis, the NFL's top rusher, managed only 51 yards on 13 carries.

"They just made plays," said Redskins tackle Chris Samuels. "They were physical and did well. They executed their plays and we didn't." A five-yard scoring toss from Leftwich to Santonio Holmes in the final quarter gave the Steelers a 23-6 lead and sealed their fourth win in five games. The Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said: "We are far from perfect. But we are a team that sticks together and makes plays at times that they need to be made."

* Reuters