ShareThis Page

First-team offense plays longer

| Friday, Aug. 15, 2008

As promised, the Steelers' first-team offense played longer in Thursday night's exhibition game against Buffalo. The starting offense was on the field for three series against the Bills, after playing only one series in last week's opener against Philadelphia. The first-team offense had no difficulty moving the ball between the 20s but sputtered closer to the goal line on the first two possessions. Following Ben Roethlisberger completions of 13 yards to receiver Santonio Holmes and 19 yards to receiver Hines Ward, the quarterback's short pass over the middle was deflected and intercepted by safety Donte Whitner and returned 11 yards to the Buffalo 33. The Steelers' second series ended at the Buffalo 45. On the Steelers' next series, Roethlisberger and Holmes connected on a 40-yard touchdown bomb that cut Buffalo's lead to 14-7 with 6:26 left in the second quarter.

• New backup quarterback Byron Leftwich entered the game for the first time with 4:12 remaining before halftime. Leftwich's first pass was a 24-yard strike to receiver Nate Washington.

• Running back Willie Parker, who carried three times for 20 yards in the preseason opener, nearly doubled his output with five carries for 14 yards last night. Parker also remained on the field on third down, something he says he wants to do more often this season. Parker also caught a screen pass for four yards in the second quarter.

• Casey Hampton, who came off the physically unable to perform list Sunday, started at nose tackle. Tyrone Carter started in place of Troy Polamalu at strong safety. And Bryant McFadden started at cornerback for Deshea Townsend.

• Polamalu, Townsend (groin), linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger), safety Ryan Mundy (ankle), tight end Cody Boyd (shoulder) and linebacker Keyaron Fox didn't suit up. Fox wasn't listed with an injury entering the game. Polamalu (hamstring) still is on the physically unable to perform list.

• Coach Mike Tomlin experimented with the kick return units. Mewelde Moore and rookie Rashard Mendenhall were back for the first kickoff return. Mendenhall and Carey Davis were deep for the second kickoff return. Willie Reid and Gary Russell lined up for the third kickoff return. Moore handled the Steelers' only punt return in the first half.


3 -- Exhibition games the Steelers have played in Canada. The other two were in Montreal (1969 and '90).

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.