ShareThis Page

Steelers win preseason opener

| Friday, Aug. 8, 2008

The Steelers are actively trying to sign a veteran quarterback Friday night after losing Charlie Batch for at least a month to a broken right collarbone in their 16-10 win over the Eagles at Heinz Field.

Batch left the game early in the second quarter after rushing for 6 yards on a broken play.

Coach Mike Tomlin said he is expected to miss four to six weeks.

"Unfortunate incident," Tomlin said, "but our approach is it's part of football. We'll regroup and make necessary adjustments."

The loss of Batch leaves the Steelers with two rookies, fifth-round pick Dennis Dixon and undrafted free agent Mike Potts, behind Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Their inexperience is why the Steelers were working the phones right after they beat the Eagles in the preseason opener for each team.

Batch ended up with the ball in the Steelers' backfield after Mewelde Moore went the wrong way on a running play. He broke a couple of tackles but paid dearly for the surprising gain he made.

"The competitor got the best of him and he lowered his shoulder," Tomlin said. "The end result was a broken collarbone."

Said Moore, who signed with the Steelers in March, "I'm wearing it. Nobody 's trying to make mistakes like that. It's tough"

Willie Parker had been the story before the Steelers announced the severity of Batch's injury.

Playing in his first game since breaking his lower right leg last December, Parker gained 20 yards on three carries in the Steelers' win/loss to the Eagles at Heinz Field. His night ended long before the sun went down Friday -- and even before Santonio Holmes capped the Steelers' opening drive of the night with a 19-yard touchdown reception.

"It was big for me personally, getting on that field and running and getting everything all back," Parker said. "It's just like a dream come true. I've been thinking about this for a long time."

As with Parker, the Steelers turned Roethlisberger into a spectator even before the first quarter had ended.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense made it look easy the one series the starters did play together.

The Steelers marched 80 yards in just eight plays and gave the Eagles a steady dose of Parker and rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall.

Roethlisberger completed both of his pass attempts for 38 yards before giving way to Batch. On Steelers' first touchdown, Holmes caught a short pass in the flat, put a couple of jukes on safety Brian Dawkins and raced past the perennial Pro Bowler as if he were a statue.

"It was a big statement about what our offense is going to be like in the games to comes," Holmes said.

Indeed, the Steelers' opening drive Friday gave a glimpse into how many weapons Roethlisberger may have at his disposal. That is especially true with Parker looking like he has fully recovered from the injury that ended his season in 2007 when he was leading the NFL in rushing.

If his leg holds up and Mendenhall emerges as a true complement to Parker, the Steelers' running game could be robust this season.

Mendenhall, the Steelers' first-round pick in this year's draft, made a good first impression. He ran with authority and banged out 34 yards on seven carries in the first half.

"We ran the ball really well," Roethlisberger said. "I think it was awesome that the offensive line did a great job of run blocking."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.