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Archive for Monday, August 19, 2002

Rosenfels rallies Redskins

Washington improves to 3-0 thanks to three-touchdown fourth

August 19, 2002

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— Even with two quarterbacks sidelined by injuries, the Pittsburgh Steelers manhandled the Washington Redskins until Sage Rosenfels and the backups led a three-touchdown rally in the fourth quarter.

Rosenfels hit Darnerien McCants for a five-yard touchdown pass with 2:11 remaining Sunday night as the Redskins overcame a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Steelers 35-34.

Pittsburgh running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (45) eludes
Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey. Fuamatu-Ma'afala had a
36-yard gain on the play Sunday in Landover, Md.

Pittsburgh running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (45) eludes Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey. Fuamatu-Ma'afala had a 36-yard gain on the play Sunday in Landover, Md.

Coach Steve Spurrier's team is 3-0 and has scored 110 points in exhibitions, but this result was far from impressive. The Steelers dominated the game 17-0 when the starters were playing in the first half.

Kordell Stewart sustained a mild concussion and Charlie Batch cut his chin, but it didn't matter who the Pittsburgh quarterback was early on. Batch capped an 83-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to Dan Kreider, and rookie Antwaan Randle El ran 32 yards on a reverse to finish a 99-yard drive both against the Redskins' first-string defense. The Steelers gained 221 yards in the first half.

Randle El also caught a 17-yard pass from Tee Martin in the third quarter.

The Steelers also shut down Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun offense until the backups and fringe players took over. The Redskins had six turnovers, the first-team offense had just 123 yards, and there was little headway in the three-way quarterback battle until Rosenfels led the late rally.

Rosenfels struggled against Pittsburgh's starters in the second quarter 6-for-10 for 54 yards with an interception and a fumble but he returned in the fourth to throw TD passes to Leonard Stephens, Derrius Thompson and McCants. Rosenfels finished 17-for-25 for 244 yards.

Starter Danny Wuerffel played the first quarter and went 2-for-5 for 24 yards with two drops and a heaved third-down interception that essentially took the place of a punt.

Shane Matthews, playing the third quarter, had his first pass picked off at the line of scrimmage by linebacker Justin Kurpeikis in an area that didn't appear to have an eligible receiver. The Redskins had two illegal procedures penalties on the same play during one drive.

Finally, aided by a penalty for roughing the passer, Matthews got the Redskins on the board with a 10-yard pass to Thompson. Matthews later added an 8-yard TD pass to Chris Doering and finished 14-for-21 for 137 yards and two interceptions.

The Steelers scored again on the last play of the third quarter when backup nose tackle Kendrick Clancy picked up Kenny Watson's fumble and rumbled 16 yards for a touchdown.

Stewart was hurt in the first quarter as he neared the sideline after scrambling to the right on a rollout. He was grabbed from behind and slammed headfirst into the ground by linebacker LaVar Arrington.

Stewart, who gained 6 yards on the play, lay on the ground about a minute. He then walked to the bench and sat with a towel over his head as Batch entered the game in his place.

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