LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- There seemed to be a little extra in the
celebration, especially for an exhibition game.
After throwing an interception that was returned for a score,
Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey rallied for his best
performance this preseason in Friday night's 17-10 victory over the
Pittsburgh Steelers. A touchdown pass to Chris Cooley was the
exclamation point, a moment celebrated when Ramsey leaped into the
arms of linemen Randy Thomas and Chris Samuels.
"I was proud of Patrick," Samuels said. "He took us down on a
great drive. A lot of people tried to get down on him early, with
the interception, but he showed a lot of poise and a lot of
confidence and stepped up and led the offense."
Needing a good night to stave off any question of a challenge
from the rejuvenated Mark Brunell, Ramsey completed 12 of 19 passes
for 141 yards. He hit Santana Moss for gains of 40 and 28 yards,
then went 5-for-5 on a 10-play, 55-yard drive capped by the pass to
Cooley, who brought down the ball with safety Chris Hope draped all
No one's ready to compare Ramsey to Joe Montana, but the game
eased a few doubts as the regular season draws near.
"The confidence of Patrick is sky-high right now," running
back Clinton Portis said. "To come back from that interception and
drive down and respond and put points on the board -- we didn't do
that last year. This year, there's a different swagger. He came in
the huddle: 'Let's go guys. Let's put some points up.' ... Last
year, after a turnover, we probably went backward."
There was no such optimism among Pittsburgh's offensive
starters, who haven't scored a touchdown in 4½ quarters over three
Ben Roethlisberger finished 6-for-15 for 57 yards and a
desperation heave interception on the last play of the half. His
rating was 23.5, worse even than the 36.5 from his first two games.
The Steelers were outgained 234-130 before the reserves took over
in the second half.
"Disappointed in the effort tonight, certainly offensively,"
Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said. "We are not in sync on offense,
and that was evident."
The Steelers' starters got their first points when Jeff Reed
kicked a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter, set up by the
only big play they produced all night: a 51-yard run by
third-string running back Willie Parker.
Cowher took Parker out after the 51-yard run, not wanting to
lose the next back in the pecking order. "You might not see him
again until Tennessee," said Cowher, referring to the season
opener Sept. 11.
The score was 10-10 at halftime. The Redskins scored the winning
touchdown in the third quarter when Brunell led an 85-yard drive,
capped by Rock Cartwright's 10-yard run.
Washington coach Joe Gibbs was particularly upset when Ramsey
threw two poor interceptions last week. So the coach couldn't have
been happy when his quarterback threw a desperate lob over blitzing
linebacker Clark Haggans and right to Troy Polamalu, who returned
the interception 34 yards to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead.
Polamalu's touchdown was the fifth on a return by Pittsburgh
this preseason: two on interceptions, one each on a fumble, punt
return and kickoff return.
But Ramsey steadied, and Washington's running game looked strong
as well. Clinton Portis, getting his first significant preseason
action after missing last week's game with a sore elbow, gained 48
yards on eight carries. Ladell Betts was just as solid in relief,
running for 41 yards in nine attempts.
"We were riding pretty high last week, we had a good game, and
I guess guys were reading the press clippings too much,"
Pittsburgh linebacker James Farrior said. "We've got to go back to
the drawing board."
The game marked the 2005 debut of Redskins three-time Pro Bowl
linebacker LaVar Arrington, who hadn't been healthy in nearly a
year because of knee injuries. Arrington was cheered when he
entered the game in the second quarter and egged on the crowd. He
was used sparingly as a pass-rushing defensive end in the first
half, but he made two quick tackles and came close to a sack and an
interception playing linebacker after halftime.
^Notes:@ Washington S Matt Bowen left in the first half with
bruised ribs and was taken to a hospital for further examination.
"It looks like he's OK," Gibbs said. ... Pittsburgh LB Andre
Frazier left in the third quarter with an ankle injury. ...
Steelers WR Hines Ward, in his first significant playing time since
ending his holdout, caught two passes for 16 yards. ... Missing
Washington notables were P Tom Tupa (back), CBs Walt Harris (quad)
and Ryan Clark (knee) and WR Taylor Jacobs (toe). ... LB Joey
Porter (knee) sat out again for the Steelers.
The future of quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler are questions the Broncos must deal with this offseason.
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The Manning family doesn't care about the box score, or the fact that Peyton's highlight came from a two-point conversion. He's a two-time Super Bowl champ now. It's time to go out on top.
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The Panthers and Broncos both left their offenses back home, as Cam Newton and Peyton Manning struggled to get much of anything going against two of the NFL's best defenses.