Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes, including two to star wide receiver Antonio Brown, to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 38-16 win over Washington’s NFL team on Sept. 12 at FedEx Field near Washington D.C.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks for an open man during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks for an open man during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Pittsburgh’s offense was too much for a Washington defense that has something to prove, as Roethlisberger completed 27 of 37 passes for 300 yards. For most of the game, Brown played on the opposite side of Washington’s All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman and finished with eight catches for 126 yards, to the dismay of cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

While Pittsburgh’s passing attack clicked early, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins struggled to connect with his receivers in the red zone, frequently throwing low balls throughout the first half. By the end of the half, Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins had scored the only points— two field goals—and Washington trailed Pittsburgh, 14-6.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Landover, Md., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Midway through the third quarter, Brown caught a 26-yard touchdown pass to give Pittsburgh a 24-6 lead. Cousins responded by completing seven passes in a row on what should have been a comeback scoring drive. However, an offensive penalty led to a first-and-20, and Washington was forced to settle for another field goal, cutting the score to 24-9.

Cousins completed 30 of 43 passes for 329 yards and two interceptions.

Washington’s run game was unproductive for most of the night, as the team finished with only 55 rushing yards on 12 attempts. However, running back Chris Thompson’s 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter got it close at 24-16.

Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) runs past the reach of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) during the first half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Pittsburgh followed with back-to-back touchdowns by running back DeAngelo Williams—who started in place of the suspended Le’Veon Bell—to end the game, 38-16. Williams finished with 143 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

Washington’s key role players came up short in the season opener, with running back Matt Jones finishing with only 24 yards, while tight end Jordan Reed was a non-factor after the opening drive. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson led the team with six receptions for 102 yards.

Next: Washington faces NFC East rival the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

on Sept. 18 at 1 p.m.

Breana Pitts

Special to the AFRO