Cam Sims leads the Washington Football Team to Victory

Cam Sims
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The Washington Football Team stunned the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field 23-17 in a Monday evening affair. Washington got out to a typical slow start, as they were down two touchdowns until the final seconds of the first half. Down 14-3 at halftime, Washington went 82 yards on 14 plays, aided by a 31-yard screen pass to Cam Sims on a third and 14. The drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run for Peyton Barber. Pittsburgh tacked on a field goal in the third to make the game 17-10, but Washington answered in the fourth as Alex Smith found a wide-open Logan Thomas for a 15-yard touchdown. 

Tied at 17, the Washington defense held strong once again, stifling the Steelers on fourth and one due to a miscommunication between Anthony McFarland and Ben Roethlisberger. Then, on a third and four, Smith found the reliable Cam Sims once again. Sims made a superb one-handed catch for 29-yards to put Washington in field goal range. Dustin Hopkins went three for three on the night, none more important than his first 45-yard field goal to take the lead. In a game full of deflections, Washington finally capitalized on the ensuing Steelers drive as Montez Sweat tipped a pass in the air as Jon Bostic made the clutch interception. Hopkins made another field goal to give Washington the 23-17 win to maintain pace with the New York Giants atop the NFC East at 5-7. 

Cam Sims Leads the Washington Football Team Past the Steelers

Cam Sims, Logan Thomas, and JD McKissic were Sensational

Washington’s star wide receiver Terry McLaurin was bracketed in coverage throughout the game, finishing with just two catches for 14 yards. Antonio Gibson also left the game early in the first quarter with a toe injury. However, Washington’s emerging weapons came through in a big way. 

Cam Sims made perhaps the biggest three plays in the game. When Washington desperately needed a spark in the first half, Sims had a 30-yard catch and run to put Washington in field goal range. Then, on a third and 14 to open the second half, Sims took a wide receiver screen for 31 yards, behind Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier. To put Washington in field goal range, he made an incredible one-handed catch on another third down. After breaking out against the Giants, Sims did not receive a target last week. But, he was a key piece to the Washington win on Monday evening. 

Logan Thomas, whose role has grown throughout the season, played his best game in a Washington uniform. He caught nine passes for 98 yards and a game-tying touchdown (including the extra point). Like Sims, Thomas made a one-handed catch. He also made an unbelievable effort on a third and long in the first half, which was barely short of the first down. On Washington’s two touchdown drives, Thomas played an intricate role, catching a touchdown and a pass to put Washington on the one-yard line. 

As usual, J.D. McKissic played a massive role in the passing game with Alex Smith at quarterback. He caught ten passes for 70 yards, including critical first downs down the stretch. 

The Front Seven Was Excellent

The Washington Football Team’s highly-touted defensive line did not sack Roethlisberger, who has only been sacked ten times this season. However, they shut down the Steelers running game, as the Steelers had 1.5 yards per rush, got consistent pressure, and made key deflections in the fourth quarter. Chase Young showed off his unreal athleticism with a crucial fourth and one stand at the goal line. Opposite of Young, Montez Sweat also had a big game himself. He had more of a defensive back stat line, with three passes defended to go with one tackle for loss. On the inside, Da’Ron Payne was a disrupting force with five tackles, two tackles for loss, and one pass defended. 

The highly scrutinized Washington linebacking corps played one of their best games of the season on Monday. Cole Holcomb was a sure tackler, as he finished with nine tackles, including one for loss. Jon Bostic came to play against his former team, diving for the game-winning interception and finishing with ten tackles. 

Alex Smith Came Through

It wasn’t the best start for Alex Smith, but when Washington needed him most, he came through. Smith did not look comfortable in the first half, often not setting his feet when pressured. But, the Washington receivers didn’t do him any favors with a critical dropped pass by Steven Sims. At the end of the first half, Smith took two inexcusable sacks and may have been bailed out as the game clock was stopped. 

However, Smith looked more like his usual self in the second half. He was decisive with his check downs and got the ball out of his hands quickly against the vaunted Steelers pass rush. Washington was four for nine on third downs in the second half, after failing to convert any of their eight attempts in the first. Smith nearly reached 300 yards, ending with 296 yards on a 67.4% completion percentage. 

Onto Arizona to play the San Francisco 49ers

The Washington Football Team maintained pace with the Giants, after they upset the Seattle Seahawks, atop the NFC East. The Giants do have the tiebreaker, so Washington must finish with one more win than the Giants to win the division. Here are Washington’s paths to the playoffs. Next week, Washington flies out to Arizona to face the 5-7 San Francisco 49ers, who were defeated by the Buffalo Bills on Monday night football, 34-24. 

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