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Steelers offensive drought continues



Published: Sat, August 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Pittsburgh's first team offense hasn't scored a touchdown in three games.

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."

Steelers offense struggles

There was no such optimism among Pittsburgh's offensive starters, who haven't scored a touchdown in 41/2 quarters over three games.

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.

Parker was playing with the starters because Jerome Bettis left with a calf injury in the first quarter and Duce Staley is rehabilitating from knee surgery. Bettis will have an MRI on Saturday.

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.

Ramsey has best night

Needing a good night to stave off any question of a challenge from 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 over him.

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.

"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."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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