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NOTEBOOK From Heinz Field



Published: Fri, August 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Fill-in refs: With replacement officials filling after the lockout by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, coaches, players and fans were just waiting for something to go wrong. But Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said he thought the officials did a good job. "I didn't sense a lot of penalties being called. I don't know if that was all bad," he said. In the second quarter, line judge Ron Baynes, who came out of retirement, got in the way of an Alex Van Pelt pass and was hit in the head. "That's probably why he retired a year ago," Cowher said.

Who's No. 2? Apparently Cowher already knows who he wants to keep as a backup quarterback -- Kent Graham or Tommy Maddox -- because neither played in Thursday's game. Maddox, however, wasn't sweating the decision. "I went out there and did the best I could," he said. "I'm real comfortable with the way I played and the things I've done in practice. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen, but I'll probably sleep pretty good tonight."

Conversion: Tee Martin's 8-yard touchdown pass to fullback Ron Janes in the fourth quarter was the Steelers' first successful fourth down play this preseason. They finished 1-for-5 on fourth down.

Slash's stats: Kordell Stewart ended the preseason with 29 completions in 45 attempts for 304 yards and no touchdowns.

Team leader: Rookie Kendrell Bell, who is expected to start when the Steelers' season begins Sept. 9 in Jacksonville, led the team this preseason with 16 tackles and 3 sacks for minus-23 yards.

Bus idled: Cowher held running back Jerome Bettis out of the game to avoid injury.

Injuries: Wide receiver Troy Edwards started in place of the injured Hines Ward (Knee), and tight end Matt Cushing started in place of injured fullback Jon Witman (back). Defensive back Chad Scott (knee) and fullback Dan Krieder (calf) also did not play.

Winning streak: With the victory, the Steelers posted their fourth winning record in the last five years in the preseason.

-- Phil Novak




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