Steelers 21

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Lions 27

(1-0, 1-0 home)

7:30 PM ET, August 14, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
PIT 0 7 7 721
DET 7 3 7 1027

Staley gains 45 yards, but fumbles

DETROIT (AP) -- Joey Harrington lofted a pass across the middle, Charles Rogers lunged for the reception and rolled on the shoulder that cut short his rookie season.

Harrington didn't take long getting reacquainted with Rogers, completing passes to him on three of Detroit's first seven plays, and the Lions held on for a 27-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

"His first two catches were tough, he fought for the ball, landed on the ground, and on his shoulder," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said. "You watch him hit the turf and say, 'Bounce up buddy!' and he did. That was good."

Rogers, the No. 2 overall pick in 2003, played for the first time since missing the final 11 games last season with a broken collarbone.

"I never had any doubts about my shoulder," Rogers said. "I played fearless, just like always, and had fun."

Rogers had three receptions, all first downs, for 56 yards to set up Harrington's 1-yard touchdown pass to Casey FitzSimmons at the end of the first quarter.

"It was a confidence-builder," Rogers said. "The way we moved the ball was unbelievable."

Harrington, the third pick overall two years ago, was 5-for-7 for 68 yards and a TD on the starting unit's lone drive.

Brian St. Pierre, Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback, converted a fourth-and-28 on the final drive and with the clock running out, his pass into the end zone was deflected by cornerback Jeff Sanchez.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 8-of-13 for 84 yards, including a 7-yard TD to Antwaan Randle El that tied the game late in the second quarter in his NFL debut.

"I feel good -- got the first one out of the way," said Roethlisberger, the No. 11 pick. "I was not as nervous as I probably should've been, even when they said, 'You're going in'."

Roethlisberger relieved Tommy Maddox and directed four possessions, playing more than expected because Charlie Batch is out for the season with a knee injury.

"He's picking things up quickly," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "He's becoming more comfortable. I like where Ben is right now."

Maddox was 4-for-5 for 52 yards on two drives.

Running back Duce Staley, Pittsburgh's only major offseason addition, ran for 45 yards on 11 carries, and Jerome Bettis had just 5 yards on five carries.

Staley spoiled his solid outing by fumbling on the game's opening possession at Detroit's 8, ending a 70-yard drive. The Steelers had chances to recover the ball, but it squirted out of the end zone.

Olandis Gary scored on a 1-yard plunge to give Detroit a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter. On St. Pierre's first snap, he lobbed a 26-yard TD pass to Freddie Milons to pull Pittsburgh within a field goal.

The Lions had a 13-point cushion on Avon Cobourne's 7-yard run early in the fourth period.

Dante Brown made up for a fumble with a 22-yard TD to pull Pittsburgh within six with 10:28 left. The Steelers had a chance to get closer, but Rob Bironas missed a 44-yard kick.

Both teams were without three starting defensive backs: Pittsburgh's Chad Scott (abdominal strain), Chris Hope (shoulder) and Deshea Townsend (groin); Detroit's Dre' Bly (hip), Fernando Bryant (hamstring) and Brian Walker (knee).

Detroit's starting free safety Brock Marion, a free agent acquisition, left in the first quarter with a left shoulder injury. X-rays were negative.

Lions receiver Roy Williams, the seventh pick in the draft, did not have a pass thrown to him in limited action. Running back Kevin Jones, also a first-round pick, missed the game with a hamstring injury.

Game notes

Fair, a former Lion, injured his hamstring. ... Detroit OL Tyrone Hopson left the game with sore ribs. ... Randle El caught three passes for 29 yards. ... The Steelers have played an exhibition game at Ford Field in all three of its seasons.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


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