AFC North: Washington Redskins

It's been a few hours since the Browns signed someone, so you know there has to be another deal brewing. Next up is apparently Redskins free-agent tight end Fred Davis.

A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the Browns "are serious about signing him." Davis, 27, is an athletic tight end whose playing time has been limited by injury and suspension.

This would be a strong move for the busy Browns, who have signed linebacker Paul Kruger, defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, linebacker Quentin Groves and backup tight end Gary Barnidge in the first two days of free agency. When healthy, Davis has the potential to be a playmaker. He caught only 24 passes last season before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 7.

The Cleveland media had speculated that the Browns were targeting Oakland's Brandon Myers after missing out on Tennessee's Jared Cook. The Browns are looking to upgrade from last year's starter, Ben Watson, who isn't expected to be re-signed.

ESPN experts predict Browns-Redskins

December, 15, 2012

In the video, Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi make their predictions for the Redskins at the Browns.

Here's what the other ESPN experts are predicting:

Eric Allen: Redskins
Mike Golic: Redskins
Merril Hoge: Redskins
Ron Jaworski: Browns
Chris Mortensen: Browns
Adam Schefter: Browns
Mark Schlereth: Redskins
Seth Wickersham: Browns
Tom Jackson: Redskins
Keyshawn Johnson: Redskins
Mike Ditka: Redskins
Cris Carter: Browns

Rapid Reaction: Redskins 31, Ravens 28

December, 9, 2012

LANDOVER, Md. -- It was a thriller at FedEx Field, and not your old-school defensive battle, either.

What it means: The Redskins improve to 7-6 and keep within striking distance of the New York Giants in the NFC East. The win is Washington’s fourth straight and puts it above .500 after 13 games for the first time since Week 16 of the 2008 season. Baltimore fell to 9-4 and has lost consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 4-6 in 2009.

The game was won basically when: After Washington held Baltimore to a three-and-out on the Ravens' first possession of overtime, Redskins backup cornerback Richard Crawford took a 56-yard Baltimore punt 64 yards to the Ravens' 24-yard line, setting up Kai Forbath’s 34-yard game-winning field goal.

Time stopped when: Robert Griffin III injured his right knee on Washington’s final drive when, after scrambling for a short gain, he was tackled by Baltimore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Rookie backup Kirk Cousins came in for one play, then Griffin III came back, played four plays essentially on one leg, got called for intentional grounding and hobbled off the field with the help of two Washington staffers. He was flat on the trainer’s table when Cousins found Pierre Garcon in the end zone for a touchdown and then successfully ran a quarterback draw on the two-point conversion to tie the game 28-28 and force overtime.

The Redskins announced Griffin III “strained” his right knee and was doubtful to return. He did not.

Points off turnovers: Washington forced Joe Flacco into two turnovers, both off sacks. The first came on the Ravens' first possession of the second half, leading 21-14. Washington outside linebacker Rob Jackson sacked Flacco from behind. Flacco fumbled, and the Redskins recovered.

On Baltimore’s next drive, Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan hit Flacco, again from his blind side, while Flacco was in his throwing motion. The ball came out and Redskins middle linebacker London Fletcher intercepted it.

However, Washington converted those two turnovers into only six points to pull to within 21-20 near the end of the third quarter.

Baltimore injuries mount: The Ravens were without linebackers Terrell Suggs (torn biceps) and, again, Ray Lewis (torn triceps), marking the first time in nine years that neither Suggs nor Lewis was in the lineup. That’s a long time. Courtney Upshaw started in place of Suggs, while Brendon Ayanbadejo started in place of Dannell Ellerbe at weakside linebacker. Tight end Dennis Pitta started for Ed Dickson.

What’s next: The Ravens host Denver at 1 p.m. next Sunday. Washington plays at Cleveland.
The Ravens will have to contain Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III without their best pass-rusher.

Terrell Suggs won't play today at Washington after tearing his biceps last Sunday, a team spokesman told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. He was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday and was considered questionable.

This is the seventh game that Suggs will be sidelined this season. It's been a tough season for the usually durable Suggs, who only missed three games in his first nine seasons.

Suggs, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has two sacks and 19 tackles in six games this season. But Suggs was expected to play a key role against RG3, who can break to the outside for big gains.

Countdown Live: Ravens-Redskins

December, 9, 2012
Join our NFL experts as the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins battle for playoff spots.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET. See you there.

ESPN experts predict Ravens-Redskins

December, 8, 2012

In the video, Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi make their predictions for the Ravens at the Redskins.

Here's what the other ESPN experts are predicting:

Eric Allen: Ravens
Mike Golic: Ravens
Merril Hoge: Redskins
Ron Jaworski: Ravens
Chris Mortensen: Redskins
Adam Schefter: Redskins
Mark Schlereth: Redskins
Seth Wickersham: Redskins
Tom Jackson: Redskins
Keyshawn Johnson: Redskins
Mike Ditka: Redskins
Cris Carter: Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens are without inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who isn't eligible to play until next Sunday. Lewis' replacement, Dannell Ellerbe, is out with an ankle injury.

There's also a chance that the Ravens will play at the Washington Redskins on Sunday without outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is listed as questionable with torn biceps. He's considered a game-time decision.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Suggs "held up real well" in practice this week but he didn't give any hints on whether the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year will suit up.

"If you are asking what he is going to do, I really don’t know yet," Harbaugh said Friday. "We’ll just have to see where it goes on Sunday.”

If Suggs can't play, it would mark the first time in nine years that the Ravens wouldn't have Suggs or Lewis on the field. It would also leave the Ravens thin at linebacker and vulnerable against the NFL's top rushing attack.

Baltimore will try to limit scrambling quarterback Robert Griffin III and surprising rookie running back Alfred Morris with a different look at linebacker. If Suggs is out, rookie second-round pick Courtney Upshaw would move back into the starting lineup. Reserve linebackers Albert McClellan and Brendon Ayanbadejo combined to fill in at inside linebacker, where Lewis and Ellerbe had started.

The Ravens have the 23rd-ranked run defense in the NFL.
Jonathan Dwyer(AP Photo/Don Wright)Running back Jonathan Dwyer gives Pittsburgh's offense a dangerous new dimension.

PITTSBURGH -- Much has been made of the Pittsburgh Steelers' dink-and-dunk offense and how the short passing game has taken away the explosiveness of the attack. After the Steelers' 27-12 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday, I'm here to endorse the dink-and-Dwyer offense.

With a running game, the Steelers have the look of a dangerous team. The look of those 1934 bumble-bee throwback uniforms? They were almost as scary as the prospect of Ben Roethlisberger throwing over the top of a safety who has had to creep in because of Pittsburgh's ground attack.

Jonathan Dwyer, with 107 rushing yards against the Redskins, has produced two 100-yard games in two starts and three in just 13 NFL games. He became the first Steelers running back since Willie Parker in the first two weeks of the 2008 season to record at least 100 yards in back-to-back games. And he's averaging 6.7 yards per carry in his two starts.

All of a sudden, the Steelers have gone from nearly pushing the panic button to causing the division-leading Baltimore Ravens to sweat. Pittsburgh (4-3) has crept to within one game of Baltimore (5-2) primarily on the legs of Dwyer.

The Steelers gave the ball to Dwyer because they didn't have a choice. Their top two running backs, Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle), have been sidelined the past two weeks.

Now, after what Dwyer has shown the past two games, the Steelers don't have a decision at starting running back. They can't take the ball back from Dwyer. He's breaking long gains. He's delivering the key run at the end of games. You have to keep feeding the ball to Dwyer until his play tells you otherwise.

"He's answered the call and taken advantage of opportunity," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "That's what we expect from all of our young people. He did the job today, but obviously, I read his name here when I talked about the list of injuries. So, I'm not going to speak too soon on that. We'll check the totality of all of the people involved and the healthy guys get the opportunities next week."

Dwyer's right quadricep muscle tightened up on that final drive and forced him to leave the game early. Dwyer, though, said he's fine. There's a chance Mendenhall could be ready for Sunday's game at the New York Giants, and Redman might be available after returning to practice this past week.

If all of the running backs are healthy, does Dwyer get the nod to be the starter?

"I'll see what they look like next week," Tomlin said. "You're not getting it today."

If Dwyer can go, he should be the Steelers' starter. I'm not sure it's even a question at this point. The Steelers' run game got off to its worst start in 62 years, totaling 195 yards in its first three games. In his past five quarters, Dwyer has produced 179 yards on the ground.

This isn't a push to make Dwyer the permanent starter for the rest of the season or even next year. The Steelers can always turn back to Mendenhall or Redman if Dwyer struggles or starts to fumble again. But Dwyer has earned the right to remain the starter heading into next Sunday.

What stands out about Dwyer is the combination of power and quickness. He can run in between the tackles like Redman and he can break a long one to the outside like Mendenhall. Dwyer isn't dazzling with great open-field moves. He's direct and simply produces.

How important is the running game for the Steelers? They are now 10-0 when they rush for at least 120 yards since the start of the 2011 season and 6-7 when they rush for fewer than that.

"That's the dynamic that we have to have," left guard Willie Colon said. "If we stay one dimensional, I think we kill ourselves. We got to be able to run the ball. When we stay efficient, they crowd the box and we got some stud receivers who can stretch the field. The sky is the limit."

No one knows Dwyer's ceiling at this point. The 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year lasted until the sixth round in the 2010 draft, and some of that fall had to do with rumblings that he wasn't dedicated enough.

Dwyer confirmed those fears when he reported to his first two training camps overweight, which led Tomlin to limit Dwyer's touches and playing time. This year, Dwyer reported in better condition and got more opportunities early until he made a costly fumble in Oakland on Sept. 23.

After sitting out the next two games following that turnover, Dwyer not only got a chance to suit up again but received his first start when Mendenhall and Redman were sidelined. Dwyer hasn't dropped the ball since and he's smart enough not to publicly campaign for a starting job.

"I'm not going to sit here and talk about that. I am going to just do what I have to do to help us win," the soft-spoken Dwyer said. "In all reality, I'm just trying to solidify myself around here and around the league as well. Knowing that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, I'm going to do whatever I have to do to live my dream every day."

While Dwyer didn't reach the end zone, he had a hand in finishing off the game for a second straight week. In the Steelers' last drive, he gained eight yards on second-and-7 and 13 yards on second-and-9 as the game nearly wound down to the two-minute warning.

It capped a 107-yard game for Dwyer, a performance that was impressive considering the opponent. While it was expected that Roethlisberger would have a big game against the NFL's worst pass defense, Dwyer broke runs against the league's No. 7 run defense that held teams to 85.3 yards rushing and 3.9 yards per carry.

"He runs hard," Roethlisberger said. "We know when we put the ball in his hands, he is going to give you everything he's got. He brings a little bit of power and a little bit of quickness. He brings a little bit of speed -- not a lot of speed. He just runs hard. He runs with a passion and he's fun to watch."

How Dwyer finishes this season could determine how the Steelers handle the running back position in the offseason. Dwyer is a restricted free agent just like Redman. Mendenhall will be an unrestricted free agent.

If Dwyer continues this run, he may be the Steelers' back for the long run.

"I knew that, if I stayed patient, my opportunity would come," Dwyer said. "It's just about using the opportunity to make a statement and taking advantage of it."

Dwyer has made a statement in two career starts. Now, the Steelers have to make one by keeping him as their starting running

Here are my thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 27-12 win over the Washington Redskins at Heinz Field:

What it means: The Steelers (4-3) continue to close the gap on the Ravens (5-2), moving to within one game of the AFC North leaders. After struggling with consistency all season, Pittsburgh has won back-to-back games for the first time this season. This was the Steelers' sixth straight home win, their most since the 2008 season. Pittsburgh has won five in a row over the Redskins.

Starting strong: The Steelers executed their dink-and-dunk offense to near perfection early in the game, scoring on five of their first six drives. The 1-yard touchdown pass to Will Johnson -- Ben Roethlisberger's third of the game -- put Pittsburgh ahead 27-9 in the third quarter. Roethlisberger finished 24-of-33 for 222 yards.

Keep running: In his second start, Jonathan Dwyer had his second straight 100-yard rushing game. The last Steelers running back to gain 100 yards in consecutive games was Willie Parker, who rushed for 138 and 105 yards in the first two weeks of the 2008 season. Dwyer had 107 yards on 16 carries against the Redskins.

Containing RG3: The Steelers' defense did a good job in not allowing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to run wild. Pittsburgh held the NFL's 12th leading rusher to 8 rushing yards on six carries. The Redskins' receivers were the ones who limited RG3 in the passing game with eight drops.

Miller time: Tight end Heath Miller caught a 7-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Steelers ahead 17-7. It was Miller's sixth touchdown in seven games this season. He had four total touchdowns in his previous two seasons. All six touchdowns were passes thrown in the red zone.

Steady Suisham: Shaun Suisham continued a strong season with field goals from 48 and 27 yards. Suisham is 6-for-6 on field goals between 40 and 49 yards this season. He was 6-of-11 on such kicks last season.

Clark leaves with concussion: Safety Ryan Clark left in the third quarter with a concussion and didn't return. He was injured when he took a shot to the head on a tackle. Clark left the field under his own power and then went to the locker room to get evaluated. The Steelers were without both starting safeties, Clark and Troy Polamalu, who missed his fifth game with a calf injury. Ryan Mundy and Will Allen were the safeties the rest of the way.

What's next: The Steelers stay in the NFC East, traveling to play the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
PITTSBURGH -- Here are some thoughts at halftime, where the Steelers lead the Redskins 20-6:
  • Ben Roethlisberger is having little trouble against a bad Redskins pass defense. He has completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Both scoring throws went to tight ends, Leonard Pope and Heath Miller.
  • The Steelers are catching some breaks from the struggling Redskins special teams. Kicker Kai Forbath missed an extra point, and punt Sav Rocca is averaging 27 yards on three kicks. Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham has converted from 28 and 27 yards.
  • Jonathan Dwyer has looked strong in his second start. He has 61 yards on seven carries, including a 34-yard run. The Redskins have a total of 51 rushing yards.
  • The Steelers, who lead the NFL in time of possession, have dominated that category in this game. They hold a major edge (18:24 to 11:36) in controlling the ball against Washington.
PITTSBURGH -- Jonathan Dwyer will make his second straight start with the Steelers' top two running backs inactive again. Dwyer rushed for 122 yards last Sunday in his first career start.

Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles), who was ruled out Friday, could return as soon as next week. Isaac Redman (ankle) had practiced this week and was considered questionable before getting scratched Sunday.

In other lineup changes, rookie Mike Adams continues to replace Marcus Gilbert (ankle) at right tackle and Will Allen will fill in for Troy Polamalu (calf) at safety. Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is also inactive after a string of penalties on special teams.

Here are the inactives for Sunday's game:

STEELERS: QB Charlie Batch, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, RB Isaac Redman, RB Rashard Mendenhall, S Troy Polamalu, OT Marcus Gilbert and LB Brandon Johnson.

REDSKINS: QB Rex Grossman, S Brandon Meriweather, CB Richard Crawford, G Josh LeRibeus, G Adam Gettis, WR Pierre Garcon and DE Doug Worthington.

Countdown Live: Redskins-Steelers

October, 28, 2012
Join our NFL experts as they break down the Washington Redskins trip to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET. See you there.

In the video, Mark Schlereth and Jason Taylor make their predictions for the Redskins at the Steelers.

Here's what the other ESPN experts are predicting:

Eric Allen: Redskins
Mike Golic: Steelers
Merril Hoge: Steelers
Ron Jaworski: Steelers
Chris Mortensen: Steelers
Adam Schefter: Steelers
Mark Schlereth: Steelers
Seth Wickersham: Steelers
Tom Jackson: Redskins
Keyshawn Johnson: Steelers
Mike Ditka: Redskins
Cris Carter: Redskins

Can RG3 run past the Steelers?

October, 26, 2012
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings two weeks ago. That included a 76-yard touchdown run, the longest by an NFL quarterback in 16 years. Last Sunday, RG3 ran for 89 yards on nine carries against the Giants.

Nearly halfway through the NFL season, RG3 is the 12th-leading rusher in the NFL with 468 yards (66.9 yards per game). He is averaging 7.3 yards per run and has scored six rushing touchdowns.

"He is as advertised," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel told reporters this week. "He's as fast as anyone out there and he's going to be very tough to stop."

Can RG3 beat the Steelers with his legs Sunday? Pittsburgh historically doesn't let quarterbacks pick up many yards on the ground. Since 2001, no quarterback has run for more than 46 yards against the Steelers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Over the past 12 seasons, only six quarterbacks have gained over 40 yards rushing against the Steelers: David Carr (46 yards in 2005), Daunte Culpepper (44 in 2009), Seneca Wallace (44 in 2011), Jay Cutler (41 in 2007), Jeff Garcia (41 in 2004) and Michael Vick (40 in 2006). And it's not a typo that Carr has ran for more yards against the Steelers than any other quarterback since 2001.

In six games this season, the Steelers have allowed quarterbacks to run for a total of 47 yards and that includes a 22-yard run by Tim Tebow. But the Steelers haven't faced a quarterback quite like RG3 this year.